August 20, 2012 1:40:36 am
During the 14-month-long ordeal in the custody of al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines,Kollaraveettil Biju had encountered near death situations several times,before his escape last week.
Biju (36) reached his home here along with his Filipino wife Elina and two children on Sunday. I never thought I would return home alive…. This is second birth for me, he said.
Biju said that he was with wife Elina and children at in-laws house in Patikul in the Philippines on June 22 last year,when he was taken away by the terror group.
After midnight,I was shaken up by gun-toting men in uniform. Introduced to us as police,one of them asked me to come outside and meet their chief. On approaching a group of uniformed men waiting outside the house,I was forcibly taken away amidst alarm raised by wife. Elina said the family had immediately informed the police about the incident,however,until Biju escaped last week the government was clueless about his whereabouts.
Biju said he was taken to thick forest where the abductors had camped. The terror group had allowed him to talk to the family twice to ask them to exert pressure on the Indian government to pay the ransom,which was initially pegged at $ 10 million and later brought down to $ 1 million.
Biju said Philippines government forces had thrice attacked the camp in which he was held up.
He said during Ramzan,the militants lowered the guard and on late night of August 9 he managed to slip past the abductors. While running,I accidentally collided with a person. Biju said the stranger took him in a jeep and drove him to a house. I heard the house owner speaking to somebody over phone. They took me to a nearby police,who informed Elina about my escape, Biju said,adding he suspected several other foreigners were in custody of the terror group.
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