ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 25, 2010) – Kidnappers have freed Saturday 7 people they seized in the restive province of Maguindanao in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao, authorities said.
It said the victims, who were all abducted Thursday in the village of Bayanga Norte in Matanog town, had been released safely.
Security officials did not give details of the release, but said government negotiators had convinced the kidnappers to free all the captives. The victims had been freed in two batches since late Friday.
Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional army spokesman, said at least 15 gunmen were involved in the abduction which was in retaliation to September 13 kidnapping by another gang of Aris Lidasan in Lanao del Sur’s Lumba Bayabao town.
It was unknown whether those abducted are family members of relatives of the kidnappers, Cabangbang said.
Last year, gunmen abducted and murdered at least 57 people, more than half of them were journalists accompanying a political caravan of town official in Maguindanao.
The governor of the Muslim autonomous region, Zaldy Ampatuan; his father, Andal Ampatuan Sr. and brother Andal Ampatuan Jr. and other relatives have been accused of masterminding the killings.
Ampatuan’s deputy governor Ansaruddin Adiong and a staunch ally now sits as the acting governor of the troubled Muslim autonomous region. (Mindanao Examiner)