ZAMBOANGA, Philippines- Two Filipina documentary film-makers, kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked Muslim extremists in the strife-torn southern Philippines, were recovered by authorities on Thursday after eight months in captivity, a military statement said.
Despite her ordeal, Nadjoua Bansil said she and her younger sister Linda would return to making movies about marginalised communities.
“We will rest for a while but we will continue in our independent film-making,” she told reporters in the southern city of Zamboanga where they were taken after their recovery in Jolo.
The two women were recovered on the island of Jolo as authorities were conducting a search for them, the military said.
Jolo marine commander Brigadier General Jose Cenabre said that the kidnappers decided to free them amid the heightened military activity to locate them.
Elder brother of the sisters, Mohammed Bansil also thanked those who “helped” in obtaining the release of his siblings.
However both the military and brother declined to say whether a ransom had been paid for the two.
“Whatever you think about the ransom we cannot answer that. Suffice to say that we safely recovered the victims,” said the local military chief, Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero.
Nadjoua, then aged 39 and her sister, then aged 36, were seized by members of the Abu Sayyaf group on June 22 while working on a film about the impoverished residents of the heavily-forested island of Jolo.
Relatives had appealed for their release saying they were daughters of a deceased sharia court judge.