Monday, January 24, 2011

Kidnappers free boy in Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner/ Jan. 24, 2011) – Kidnappers have freed a ten-year old boy after three months in captivity in the southern Philippines, officials told the Mindanao Examiner on Monday.

Officials said Ceekim Gomonit was released over the weekend near Cotabato City in the central Mindanao province of Maguindanao and travelled alone back to their home in Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province in the western part of the region.

Gomonit said he was given P1,000 by his captors and told to go home alone.

“Ceekim is now at his grandfather’s residence in Pagadian City. Initial reports said the boy was released somewhere near Cotabato City and he took a jeepney to Cotabato City then a passenger van for Pagadian,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman.

Gomonit was kidnapped together with his grandmother Babet in October last year in Pagadian City, but the woman was killed after her family failed to pay ransom. Her body was found in the town of Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte province after kidnappers sent text messages to the woman’s family saying they dumped the corpse in the province.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, but there were suspicions that Moro rebels could be involved. It was not immediately known whether the boy’s family paid ransoms for his release.

Moro rebels also kidnapped an Italian missionary Father Michael Sinnot inside his house in Pagadian City and freed him a month later in Zamboanga City after private negotiators paid huge ransom.

Kidnappings-for-ransom has become a lucrative business for rebels in Mindanao with most of the collected monies used to purchase weapons in the troubled region in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

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