KUALA LUMPUR - On the same day of the Pom Pom Island murder and abduction, Philippine kidnappers released an Indian businessman whom they had snatched in that country on Oct 29.
According to The Philippine Star, the authorities were quick to announce that Mike Khemani, in his 50s, was freed without any ransom being paid.
But members of the business and political communities in Kidapawan City, some of them close friends of the victim, said money was handed to the kidnappers before his release.
"There were 10 to 15 of them surrounding me always. I heard names of my captors, but I can't remember them. I can recognise their faces if I see them again," Khemani told reporters.
He runs a department store, which has several branches in the Philippines.
He was abducted near his store by kidnappers who had gunned down his bodyguard and wounded another.
A day before Khemani's release, Philippine police captured an Abu Sayyaf bandit who was linked to the 2002 kidnapping of six Jehovah's Witness members in Sulu.
The police tracked down Nual Pajiran to Barangay Tictapul in Vitali district, 70km east of Zamboanga City.
In the 2002 kidnappings, two of the victims were beheaded on the day they were seized, while the four others were released months later allegedly upon payment of ransom.