Wednesday May 16, 2012
Trader freed after 380-day ordeal in Jolo
By MAY SALITAH
KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian businessman abducted in the Philippines has been rescued after 380 days in captivity.
Nazaruddin Saidin, 39, was in Jolo Islands to search for tokay geckos and was kidnapped on May 9 last year.
Local villagers negotiated with the abductors for Nazaruddin's freedom and he was put on a boat bound for Sandakan on Saturday.
He arrived in Sandakan at 6.30pm the next day and met with members of the Putera 1Malaysia Club, who initiated the rescue mission,
Nazaruddin was flown to the peninsula on Monday night and related his ordeal in a press conference at the Putera 1Malaysia Club office here yesterday.
The father of six said he was treated well by the kidnappers and was moved around five to six times.
He only attempted to escape once.
“It was during Raya, but I did not go far as I was unfamiliar with the area.
“I was so hungry and exhausted that I had no choice but to return to their camp.
“Luckily, they were not angry at me,'' said Nazaruddin, adding that the kidnappers advised him not to do it again.
He expressed his gratitude to the Putera 1Malaysia Club as well as the Prime Minister, media, and the villagers in Jolo for never giving up, although he was reported dead last December.
His mother, Siti Hamdah Ahmad, 59, and wife, Mazlina Mohamed, 39, were in tears, adding it was the best Mothers Day gift to have Nazaruddin back in their arms.
“I had to sell nasi lemak while Mazlina opened a curry puff stall to support the family,'' said Siti Hamidah.