Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sayyafs Seize 5 People In South RP

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 26, 2008) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen seized five people on Thursday in Basilan island where security forces are fighting the militant group tied to al-Qaeda terror network, blamed for the spate of kidnappings and terrorism in the southern Philippines.

The five, all workers of the Basilan Electric Cooperative, were abducted near Sinulatan village in Tuburan town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

“My foreman and four electric meter readers were abducted by gunmen in Tuburan and we still don’t know what happened to them,” Alfredo Oyao, the victims’ manager, told reporters.

No group claimed responsibility for the abduction, although police and military have blamed the Abu Sayyaf group.

Last week, another faction of the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped an ABS-CBN television presenter Ces Drilon and her cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, including a Muslim university professor Octavio Dinampo in nearby Sulu province.

The four, kidnapped June 8, were allegedly freed nine days later in exchange for P20 million ransoms.

Police also arrested Sulu town Mayor Alvarez Isnaji and his son Haider after implicating them in the kidnapping. They were also accused of pocketing up to P3 million from then ransom payment, but the mayor, who was handpicked by the Abu Sayyaf to negotiate for the release of the hostages denied the allegations.

Thousands of troops are not hunting down about three dozen militants involved in the kidnapping. The United States has offered as much as $5 million bounty each for known leaders of the Abu Sayyaf. (Nonong Santiago)

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