An Indian national escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors in Sulu after more than a year of captivity, by taking advantage of the bandits’ fatigue during the fasting month of Ramadan, police said.

Viju Kolara Veetil escaped while his captors were sleeping late Thursday to early Friday, Senior Supt. Antonio Freyra, Sulu provincial director, said.

“He (Veetil) took the chance na pagod at natutulog ‘yung mga nagu-guwardiya sa kanya, so dahan-dahan siyang nakatalilis,” Freyra said in a phone interview.

Abu Sayyaf members, despite their notoriety, adhere to fasting during Ramadan and therefore, experience fatigue caused by lessened eating, according to the official.

“Tingin ko matagal nang pinlano ‘yung pagtakas niya (Veetil), wala naman siyang marka ng ginapos, di naman daw siya ginapos ever since,” Freyra said.

Civilians on a vehicle found Veetil roaming along a road in Brgy. Kadday Mampallam, Patikul, between 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and took him to the home of Board Member Ismun Suhuri.

“He (Veetil) lost weight, more or less 20 kilos, but according to the medical report, okay naman siya. Medyo namumutla dahil di nakakalabas, pero wala kang makikitang galos-galos sa katawan niya,” Freyra said.

Veetil, an operations manager of a South Korean company based in Kuwait, was abducted in June 2011 during his second visit to his wife’s family in Sulu.

His wife, a native Tausug, was “suprised” upon learning that he escaped and told police investigators that no ransom was paid, Freyra said.

Freyra described Veetil’s escape as a “positive development,” saying this helped reduce kidnap victims who are still in captivity.

“At saka buhay siya eh, para sa akin kung may timing ka bakit hindi ka lumayas dun, sa nakakuha sayo, kahit ako (tatakas) eh,” the police official added. (John Roson)

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