Two sisters who were kidnapped eight months ago by extremists in the Philippine jungle have escaped, bringing with them a cat they adopted in captivity. Nadjoua and Linda Bansil were abducted by the militant group Abu Sayyaf before being rescued by a group of marines, which included Capt. Ryan Lacuesta. Lacuesta told the Associated Press that the sisters would not leave without their cat:
"They said that their captors often kept them in isolation in the mountains and the cat gave them company and pleasure," Lacuesta said by telephone from Jolo.
Linda Basil, 37, said she started taking care of the cat, named Juanita, after it was brought by a militant to the Abu Sayyaf camp where they were being held, reading books and "waiting and waiting." When mortar rounds went off and loud explosions thudded in the distance, she would hide the cat in a piece of cloth for safety.
Basil said the cat helped her and her sister relax amidst stressful surroundings. "It's scary, there were times we heard mortar explosions but I always grabbed her first," she told the AP. "I got used to that. I got attached to her."