ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/01 April) – Ten gunmen believed to be kidnappers seized late Tuesday the three grandchildren of the town mayor of Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur.
Senior Supt. Sofronio Ecaldre, Zamboanga del Sur police director, said the gunmen seized the children and used them as human shields in a shootout with police around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Barangay Poblacion, Pitogo.
Prior to the shootout, Ecaldre said, the gunmen arrived aboard two motorized bancas and docked at the town’s fish port.
Ecaldre said the gunmen proceeded to the residence of Chzarenia Kapa Sajulga, a businesswoman, and tried to seize her but failed as she managed to run and locked herself in a room.
He said the policemen were alarmed and rushed to the residence of Sajulga after the gunmen tried to destroy to enter the room by shooting its doorknob.
He said a shootout ensued between the responding policemen and the gunmen, who were about to leave the area aboard the two motorized bancas.
He said the gunmen grabbed three children who were at the fish port and escaped by using them as human shields.
He said the gunmen fled toward the direction of Zamboanga Sibugay along with the hostages who turned to be the grandchildren of Pitogo Mayor Richard Garban.
He identified Garban’s grandchildren as Ace Jay Garban, 3; Zynielle Jay Garban, 2; and, Ledegie Tomarong, 17.
The police official said he coordinated with the Zamboanga Sibugay Police Office to help locate the children’s whereabouts. (MindaNews)