Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gunmen seize Basilan trader

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 16, 2010) – Gunmen abducted a Filipino-Chinese businessman late Thursday in the restive province of Basilan in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said the assailants seized Larry Tam Delos Santos in his farm resort in Isabela City. “Police and military forces are in hot pursuit operations to recover the victim,” the provincial deputy governor Al Rasheed Sakalahul told the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

He said no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction. But security officials suspect the Abu Sayyaf rebels could be behind the latest abduction.

Delos Santos' family owns a resort and a restaurant in Basilan. There was no immediate statement from the family.

The abduction came two days after Abu Sayyaf rebels freed a kidnapped school principal Cecilia Sosas, who was seized on November 15. The gang is still holding another kidnapped trader, Rose Baranda, and demanded P3 million ransoms for her safe release.

Both Sosas and Baranda were kidnapped separately by rebels under Nur Hassan Jamiri. Authorities had linked Jamiri’s group to terrorism in Basilan and is on the list of the government’s order of battle.

Kidnappings-for-ransom are not uncommon in Basilan where dozens of people had been seized over the years and most of them freed in exchange for huge ransoms. (Mindanao Examiner)

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