Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kidnapped Chinese-Filipino trader freed in Mindanao

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 19, 2010) – Kidnappers have freed Thursday a Chinese-Filipino trader after three days of captivity in the restive region of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said Nestor Tay, owner of the New Asian Marketing, was released in North Cotabato’s Midsayap town. “The victim is freed, but we have no details about his release,” said Lieutenant Colonel Banjamin Hao, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.

The release of Tay came a day after Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels joined the search for the kidnapped trader. “Tay was freed because of the pressure exerted by the MILF to the kidnappers,” said Von Al0Haq, the MILF spokesman.

Al-Haq said rebel forces had been mobilized in coordination with the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group to search and pressure the kidnappers to free Tay without ransom.

The MILF forged an agreement with Manila in 2004 that paved the way for rebel forces through the ad-hoc joint action group to help government hunt down terrorists and criminal elements in areas where the rebel group is actively operating.

Tay’s family did not give any statement about the release, but there were also reports that ransom was paid to the kidnappers.

Officials said gunmen abducted Tay in Cotabato City in Maguindanao province late Monday afternoon after gunmen barged inside his store and disarmed a security guard.

Tay was dragged to a waiting van outside his store and sped off, leaving behind the security guard who reported the matter to the police.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abduction and authorities would not say whether Moro rebels were behind this. But previous kidnappings had been blamed to the rebels, who use ransom to purchase weapons to fight the government or finance terror attacks.

Kidnappings-for-ransom is not uncommon in Cotabato and dozens of wealthy traders had been kidnapped in the past and freed after their family paid ransoms to their captors.

Besides from Tay, gunmen are also holding a Japanese citizen, Toshio Ito, 63, who was seized July 16 from his home in Pangutaran Island in the Sulu archipelago. (Mindanao Examiner)

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