Monday, February 15, 2010

Abducted driver of poll bet freed; Lanao trader kidnapped in South RP

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 15, 2010) – A driver of a vice mayoralty candidate abducted in the southern Filipino province of Sulu was freed unharmed on Monday by his captors, police said.

Police said the victim Uluh, who works for Pando Mudjasan, was released on a village near Maibung town. Uluh was seized over the weekend by unidentified armed men, said Chief Inspector Amil Baanan, of the Sulu provincial police office.

“Mr. Pando Mudjasan accompanied the driver to the police office to say that the victim was freed unharmed this morning. We are investigating this case to determine the motive of the abduction – whether it was a family feud or not,” Baanan told the Mindanao Examiner.

Police said the victim’s employer, Mudjasan, is a vice mayoralty candidate in Maimbung.

Earlier reports said Mudjasan himself was also abducted, but police said only his driver was seized in Maibung on Sunday. Sulu is one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

A trader Yusof Lidangan was also abducted at the weekend in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte province on Mindanao Island.

No groups or individual claimed responsibility for the abductions. And it was not immediately known if the Abu Sayyaf group or criminal syndicates was behind the abductions or not.

Authorities have previously blamed Abu Sayyaf militants in kidnappings in Sulu and Mindanao, although Moro rebels and criminal groups also prey to wealthy traders.

Kidnappings for ransom have virtually become a lucrative business for rebels and crime syndicates with the money they get as a source of funding for the purchase of illegal weapons and to finance future terror attacks. (Mindanao Examiner)

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