Indian escapes Philippines terror groupís captivity after 14 months
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ALMOST 14 months after he was captured by al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf militants in southern Philippines, an Indian national dramatically escaped early today morning while his captors slept after fasting for Ramzan.
Now in the custody of the Sulu province authorities, Kolaraveettil Biju told The Indian Express he thought he would never get out. "It was a roller-coaster ride... I was mentally and physically tortured. Last evening, I got a chance and seized the opportunity."
From Koilandi in Kozhikode district of Kerala, 36-year-old Biju was working as an operations manager for garment company Bronze Al Tawooz in Kuwait when he was abducted on June 22, 2011. A father of two, he was visiting his Filipino wife's family in Patikul at the time. In March, the local media had reported that the Sulu police believed Biju had been killed by the Abu Sayyaf because his family could not pay ransom.
Biju said the kidnappers "started from US $10 million and came down to US $1 million". The son of an ex-serviceman, he believes he was not harmed because he is a Muslim.
"Whenever I used to get depressed, I used to think of my wife Elena and kids, seven-year-old Arjun and five-year-old Ajay. I told myself in the darkest moments that I should be alive for my family. There was no choice... I told myself that I should be patient," Biju said. Soon after his release, he met his family and called up his parents in Kozhikode.
Biju said he timed his escape for Ramzan because he knew his captors got tired after a day of fasting and slept soundly. "I had watched their pattern... and realised they were not very alert during this time."
For the past few days, he had also made a habit of going to the toilet two-three times in the night so that nobody would get suspicious when he got up. "I used the opportunity to slip out and kept running for an hour-and-a half before I got out of the jungle and reached some habitation. It was dark, but I could see my way in the moonlight," he said.
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