ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 27, 2009) – Filipino authorities on Friday said it received reports that one of three kidnapped teachers had died in captivity in Mindanao island.
The teachers - Jocelyn Enriquez, Jocelyn Inion and Noime Mande – were seized by bandits March 13 while on their way home in the village of Bangkaw-Bangkaw in the town of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Police said it received reports that Mande had died from complications from a previous surgery. Military officials said they heard about the report from the local media, but there were no confirmation whether it was true or not.
“We heard about it, but we have no reports whether the report is true or not,” Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Police said the kidnappers have previously demanded P10 million ransoms in exchange for the safe release of the hostages.
Another report said the teachers had been handed over to the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan Island, where the terrorist group is still holding three other government teachers kidnapped in January in Zamboanga City; a nine-year old boy snatched in Lamitan City and a Sri Lankan peace worker seized.
An Abu Sayyaf faction is also holding three Red Cross workers kidnapped in January in the province of Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner)