Hostage Crisis

ZAMBOANGA, June 4, 2009 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan peace activist kidnapped by Islamic militants in the southern Philippines almost four months ago has been safely rescued, police said Thursday. Umar Jaleel was rescued late Wednesday from his Abu Sayyaf captors in the town of Tipo-Tipo on Basilan island, regional police spokesman Superintendent Danilo Bacas said.

No other details were released. Jaleel was working with the Brussels-based Nonviolent Peaceforce.

He was seized by teenaged gunmen on February 13. Police had initially said he was kidnapped by an unknown gang but subsequently pointed to Abu Sayyaf, which has been blamed for the country’s worst militant attacks.

A month before Jaleel was taken, the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three Red Cross workers, one of whom is still being held.