DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 April) — A Tausug soldier was abducted by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf at the height of the military operations against the terrorist group Thursday morning, the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said.
Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji, an integree of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) into the Armed Fores of the Philippines (AFP) was “forcibly taken by about seven persons at 9:30 a.m. when on the road to Igasan in Patikul, Sulu.
The WestMinCom said the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf.
Siraji is from the 32nd Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Force Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu said Siraji’s abduction “should not be a reason for us to back out but should further motivate us to continue our relentless and sustained focus military operations against the ASG and the rescue of all kidnap victims.”
WestMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., said it was “frustrating that a Tausug soldier who wants a peaceful community and is working for it really hard so that an influx of progress will come in his home province, will have to be a victim of the bandits. Obviously, the Abu Sayyaf can victimize anyone, even someone from their own tribe.”
Galvez called on Sulu residents to “join us in this fight” to prevent the Abu Sayyaf from “creating fear and havoc.”
“For now, we will continue to hunt the perpetrators and the rest of the Abu Sayyaf. We will not stop until we get our soldier back to his family,” Galvez said.
All operating troops were immediately alerted and tasked to conduct pursuit and blocking operations.
Patikul town is one of the main targets of the military offensives since January as it is reported to be a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, the WestMinCom said. (MindaNews)