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MUSLIM REBELS FREE FILIPINO PRISONER

Suspected Muslim rebels released a store clerk who had been held hostage for 70 days, officials said Sunday.

Robustiano Hablo Jr. was released unharmed Saturday night to a group of government negotiators in a remote village near the town of Patikul, located in the Sulu province, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said.

The captors had demanded $125,000 for the release of Hablo, a 36-year-old engineer who works as a cashier in a family-owned store in Sulu.

No ransom was paid, but Hablo's relatives said they gave his captors a small amount of money to cover the expense of keeping him.

Hablo was kidnapped Nov. 20 in Patikul.

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