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Aug 11, 2012 at 09:34pm IST

Philippines: Kerala man escapes al Qaeda, to return after 14 months

New Delhi: An Indian escaped from the captivity of an al Qaeda linked terror group after being held captive in the southern Philippines for nearly 14 months.

Biju Kolara Veetil from Calicut was abducted in the Philippines, while visiting his in-laws. In July 2012, he miraculously escaped and is now is now safe in police custody, and is in touch with Indian officials, MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted. Veetil also hopes to head back home soon.

It's a huge relief for Veetil's family, who have been pleading for help from the MEA and defence minister, unable to pay the ransom of $ 7,100. But now they know the wait is just for a few days more.

Veetil was found on the streets of Patikul town, according to Antonio Freyra, police chief of Sulu province. Earlier, Freyera had told reporters that Veetil had been killed by the militant group.

However, Veetil's wife Elena had maintained that her husband was safe in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf Group. Veetil's relatives had approached the external affairs ministry and Defence Minister AK Antony seeking their intervention.

The Abu Sayyaf Group, one of the most violent Islamic separatist groups in the southern Philippines, has been pitching for an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines.

The group is known for kidnapping foreign nationals and demanding heavy ransom for them.

With additional information from IANS

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