Gunmen seize Indian national in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/23 June) – Unidentified gunmen abducted a 36-year-old Indian national in Patikul, Sulu Wednesday evening as kidnappers in Marawi City released a Maranao trader who had been held hostage since June 11, reports said.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) information officer, said the kidnapping in Sulu took place around 9 p.m. Wednesday as Biju Kolara Veettil was forcibly taken from the residence of his Tausug wife, Elena Ladjamuddin Asanji, at Sitio Kaban-Kaban, Barangay Tempok in Patikul.

Veettil was taken by his captors to an unknown place, Cabangbang said.

He said Marine troops based in Sulu are conducting operations aimed to locate and to possibly rescue the victim.

Last Wednesday’s incident has brought the number of kidnap victims in Sulu to six. Two of the victims foreigners, to include Veettil and Malaysian national Mohammad Nazaruddin, 38. The other victims are Nelson Lim, 67, Filipino-Chinese businessman; and, Renato Panisales, Wennie Ferre and Jonald Ocsimar, all part of a fishing boat crew of a Zamboanga City-based fishing firm.

In Marawi City, meanwhile, Camal Tocal, 37, was released Wednesday afternoon inside the main campus of the Mindanao State University, according to Col. Daniel Lucero, commanding officer of 103rd Infantry Brigade.

Lucero said relatives of Tocal, who hails from Lumba Bayabao town in Lanao del Sur, paid an undisclosed ransom money.

Efforts by authorities to search for Tocal, including raiding some suspected safehouses maintained by the kidnappers, failed.

Another kidnap victim, Alex Lim, who was abducted on June 9 in Samburon, Linamon, Lanao del Norte is still in the hands of his abductors, Lucero said.

Lim’s kidnappers reportedly demanded a P20-million ransom.

The military has been looking into the possibility that the Kuratong Baleleng from Ozamiz City, known for its bank robberies, may have ventured into kidnapping with the help of armed groups in the Lanao provinces. (MindaNews)