Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Troops kill leader of gang holding kidnapped son of Philippine poll commissioner

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / July 14, 2010) – Troops killed the leader of a kidnap gang holding the son of a Philippine elections commissioner in a clash Wednesday in Mindanao, officials said.

Officials said soldiers pursuing the gang caught up with them in the village of Aleem Rayah Karamian in Lanao del Sur’s Masiu town and killed its leader, Dimaporo Dimasacal alias Commander Delta.

Dimasacal’s group is believed holding Nuraldin Yusoph, 22, who was seized outside a mosque on June 20 in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. But there was no report about Yusoph, whose father, Elias Yusoph, is one of seven commissioners of the Commission on Elections.

Troops also recovered Dimasacal’s automatic weapon and there were no reports of military casualties. And details of the operation were not made public because it may jeopardize efforts to rescue Yusoph. It was not immediately known whether Dimasacal’s killing could put the victim’s life in danger.

Dimasacal was also tagged as behind the ambush Tuesday of a group of soldiers in Gata village in Poona Bayabao town, also in Lanao del Sur, killing an infantryman and a civilian.

“The operation is part of the pursuit we launched against Commander Delta after the ambush of troops in Lanao (del Sur) the other day. There is no report about the kidnap victim Nuraldin (Yusoph),” Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Yusoph’s kidnappers had demanded the annulment of recent elections in at least four towns - Malabang, Taraka, Pikong and Masiu - in Lanao del Sur in exchange for the safe release of the hostage, but later asked P25 million for his freedom.

General elections were held in the country on May 10, but some areas in Lanao province had been marred with violence and vote-buying that polls had been postponed and continued only last month. (Mindanao Examiner)

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