Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kidnapped ex-soldier freed in Zamboanga province

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 20, 2010) – A former soldier kidnapped in Zamboanga City was released by his captors after two weeks in captivity, police and military said on Saturday.

Authorities said Benjamin Almonte was abducted by gunmen February 6 while fishing off the coast of Zamboanga City.

“He was freed near the town of Ipil in the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay,” said Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, head of the anti-terror Task Force Trillium, and commander of the naval forces in Western Mindanao.
Officials did not give details of the release of Almonte or whether ransom was paid to his captors.

No group claimed responsibility for Almonte’s kidnapping or the motive behind this and police said it still investigating the case. But other sources said members of the so-called Moro Islamic Liberation Front special operation group under Waning Abdusalam was behind the kidnapping.

Abdusalam was also linked to the kidnapping last year of Irish Catholic priest Michael Sinnott last year in Zamboanga del Sur province.

Sinnott, 80, was taken by six gunmen on October 11 from his missionary house in Pagadian City and brought to Lanao province and freed in Zamboanga City after a month in captivity. (Mindanao Examiner)

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