Thursday, October 06, 2011

Chinese merchant kidnapped in Philippine Tawi-Tawi province

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 6, 2011) – A Chinese fish merchant was kidnapped in the remote town of Sitangkai in the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi, officials said on Thursday.

Officials initially identified the foreigner only as Pang, who was seized by four gunmen on Wednesday near the village of Larap. The gunmen escaped with the hostage onboard a speedboat, said Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.

He said the boat has markings “AKP” and “AKRHO.” One of the gunmen was identified as Mirham, but it was not immediately known whether he is a member of the Abu Sayyaf which has been tagged as behind the spate of kidnappings of foreigners in the southern Philippines.

“The Philippine National Police in (the capital town of) Bonggao coordinated with the Naval Intelligence Security Group-Western Mindanao and (Naval Patrol) Task Force 62 personnel. The TF62 is currently taking appropriate action,” Cabangbang told the Mindanao Examiner.

Cabangbang gave no other details about the foreigner.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest kidnapping, but the Abu Sayyaf and pirates are actively operating in Tawi-Tawi, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.

In February 2010, Abu Sayyaf kidnapped two Malaysian seaweed farm workers - Vui Chung, 42, and his cousin Lai Wing Chau, 33, - in Sabah, Malaysia and freed them 10 months later in Tawi-Tawi after their families paid huge ransoms.

And in 2008, Abu Sayyaf militants raided a Catholic convent in Tawi-Tawi and brutally gunned down missionary priest Reynaldo Jesus Roda, 54, during a kidnapping attempt.

The Abu Sayyaf had also kidnapped 21 mostly Western holidaymakers in Sabah’s resort island of Sipadan in 2001. The hostages were then ransomed off to Libya, which negotiated for their release, for millions of dollars. (Mindanao Examiner)

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