ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 3, 2011) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants seized a government midwife on her way to work on Wednesday in the southern Filipino province of Sulu, officials said.
Officials said Evangeline Taverisma, 55, was snatched by four gunmen in the village of Tagbak in the town of Indanan at around 3 p.m.
“She was abducted while on her way to report for duty at the village health center. The victim was forcibly dragged into a vehicle that sped towards Jolo town,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.
He said the woman, wife of a retired army soldier, is believed being held by Nasir Timbang and a militant leader identified only as Palu. The group was also behind the kidnapping of merchant couple last month in Jolo.
The abduction occurred even as troops are pursuing Abu Sayyaf militants tagged in the brutal killings of seven marines in fierce gun battles on July 30 in Patikul town.
Two of the five marines were beheaded and the three had wounds that nearly decapitated their heads. Security officials blamed the group of Radulan Sahiron and Isnilon Hapilon, two of the most notorious leaders of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf group tied by authorities to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya.
The soldiers were tracking down kidnapped victims - two Filipino fishermen, an Indian national and a Malaysian citizen - when they ran into a community where armed sympathizers of the militant group clashed with a platoon of marines.
Initially, the military reported that 70 armed men were involved in the clash with soldiers for two hours and those Abu Sayyaf militants under Sahiron and Hapilon reinforced their supporters.
Soldiers said some women, armed with automatic weapons, also attacked them.
The Abu Sayyaf has been involved in terrorism and kidnappings for ransom in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)