Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kidnappers free 2 of 3 captives in Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 9, 2011) – Philippine security officials said two of three men kidnapped in the southern province of Lanao del Norte in Mindanao island have been released.

But security forces are still searching for the lone Filipino-Chinese captive, Alexander Lim, in the province. Officials said Boyet Alumbro, an engineer and his companion Edgar Gomez, who were freed unharmed on Wednesday hours after gunmen seized them on a highway in Linamon town.

"The two were freed separately and we are still searching for third victim, Alexander Lim," Lieutenant Colonel Randoplh Cabangbang, a regional army spokesman, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

He said three men who were in a truck were flagged down and seized near the village of Samboron by gunmen clad in police uniform.

“We still do not know who were behind this, but initial reports said the gunmen were all wearing a police shirt," he said.

He said the gunmen were reported fleeing towards Lanao del Sur, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and Cabangbang did not provide details about the hostages.

Colonel Daniel Lucero, army commander in Lanao del Sur, said the truck was burned by the gunmen on a village in Marawi City where it was recovered late Wednesday.

"We recovered documents and papers belonging to Alexander Lim," he said without further elaborating.

Just last week, a Filipino engineer, Virgilio Fernandez, who overseas a road project in Basilan, also in the Muslim autonomous region, was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants, near Lamitan City.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding a resort owner, Larry Tam Delos Santos, in Basilan since December and another teenager, Nico Sebastian, is also being held by rebels in the troubled province. (Mindanao Examiner)

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