ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 26, 2008) – Unidentified motorcycle gunmen snatched late Wednesday a nine-year daughter of a Filipino seaman in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials said.
The girl, identified as Nicole Rabeche, was seized at gunpoint from her mother at around 7 p.m. near their house in Lamitan City. The kidnappers escaped with their victim on motorbikes, according to local government officials.
No group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction, but Basilan has been plagued by a series of kidnappings for ransom in recent months. Provincial and regional police officials ignored phone calls from journalists.
More than a dozen people had been kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in Basilan, including two aid workers, and most of them had been freed in exchange for huge ransoms.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding the son of a another seaman, Joed Pilangga, a nursing student kidnapped Oct. 17 outside their house in Zamboanga City and brought to Basilan. Kidnappers have demanded P20 million from Pilangga's family.
The locals blamed the police and military authorities for their failure to secure the safety of the civilians.
An Abu Sayyaf faction, headed by Puruji Indama and Nur Hassan Jamiri, were largely blamed for the kidnappings. They also sent letters to Christians living on the island threatening them with harm if they do not embrace Islam.
A Catholic clergy, Bishop Martin Jumoad, also blamed the police and military for the breakdown of peace and order in Basilan after receiving also a signed letter from the Abu Sayyaf threatening his group. The clergy earlier sought the replacement of the Basilan police chief Salik Macapantar for his failure to secure the island from the Abu Sayyaf.
In October, gunmen also ambushed and wounded Claretian priest Felimon Libot in while on his way to say mass in Basilan's Sumisip town. (Mindanao Examiner)