Friday, March 14, 2014

Sayyaf captors of Jolo health officer’s son, 3 others hunted

From the Philippine Star (Mar 14): Sayyaf captors of Jolo health officer’s son, 3 others hunted

Police and the Marines are pursuing suspected Abu Sayyaf militants who had held in captivity for nine days a 10-year-old son of the municipal health officer of Jolo, Sulu and three others.

The victims – the son of Jolo municipal health officer Faranazh Intimani Jajurie, his eight-year-old cousin, housemaid Almalyn Abuhail, 18, and driver Saddam Amlih – were released in Patikul, Sulu on Wednesday afternoon, according to Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, spokesman of the 2nd Marine Brigade.

Citing the investigation, Lacuesta said no ransom was paid for the release of the victims who were immediately reunited with their families.

Jajurie’s son and cousin, along with the maid and driver, were seized last March 3 in Barangay Alat, Jolo town while on their way to school.

Lacuesta said the tracking forces have coordinated with local officials and the Barangay Action Team, composed of civilian volunteers, to track down the kidnappers.

In Zamboanga del Norte, a woman village chief, who was held captive for three months, was released in a remote coastal village in Sibuco town before dawn yesterday, police said.

The victim, Cecilia Alas-as, businesswoman and chief of Barangay Paniran in Sibuco, was snatched from her residence last Dec. 12.

A police source said Alas-as’ family, who runs a trucking business, had negotiated with the kidnappers and reportedly gave an unspecified amount in exchange for her freedom.

Alas-as told police that she and her captors walked for about five hours before reaching the place where she was abandoned.

The spate of kidnappings, particularly in Sulu, has sown fear among residents and government workers, who have threatened not to report for work due to security concerns.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman, however, urged the government workers not to make good their threat, saying this would just worsen the situation.

Hataman said he has requested Chief Superintendent Noel de los Reyes, ARMM police director, to personally visit Sulu and ensure that security plans against kidnappings there are in place.

“These kidnapping incidents have brought tension to government workers but I have directed them not to defer any government projects as measures have been adopted to ensure their safety,” Hataman said.

At least eight people are believed still being held in captivity, including two European bird watchers who were seized in Tawi-Tawi in February 2012 and brought to Sulu.

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