Monday, September 19, 2011
NORTH COTABATO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 19, 2011) – Gunmen snatched an eight-year old girl from her mother outside a school on Monday in the province of North Cotabato in Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines, the nongovernmental group called Bantay Ceasefire said.
It said the victim, Angel Navarro, was seized in the town of Pikit by two motorcycle gunmen who fled toward the village of Balong, a known stronghold of Moro rebels in the town.
Security forces have launched a rescue operation, but there had been no reports about the fate of the hostage. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is currently negotiating peace with Manila, also mounted its own operation to rescue the girl.
Bantay Ceasefire, a grassroots organization engaged in monitoring the ceasefire agreement between the government and the MILF, has sent a “text alert” to all its volunteers in the province to help authorities by providing information about the kidnappers and their captive.
Butch Gilman, the group’s provincial coordinator, said the identities of the abductors remain unidentified.
The girl’s mother Elsie Navarro, a government teacher, appealed to the kidnappers to free her child. (Romy Elusfa)