Friday, September 24, 2010

Gunmen seize 7 people in Muslim Maguindanao

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 24, 2010) – Gunmen seized at least 7 people in the Muslim province of Maguindanao in the restive region of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, officials said Friday.

Officials said the victims were in two passenger vehicles bound for Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province when gunmen seized them on a road block in the village called Bayanga Norte in Matanog town.

At least 15 gunmen were involved in the abduction, said Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional army spokesman. He said the abduction was believed to be in connection to the September 13 kidnapping of Aris Lidasan in Lanao del Sur’s Lumba Bayabao town.

“The motive of the abduction is believed to be in retaliation to the kidnapping of Lidasan,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Lidasan is still being held hostage by his captors.

It was unknown whether those abducted are family members of relatives of the kidnappers, Cabangbang said troops were sent to the province to track down the perpetrators and their hostages.

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)

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