Suspected Abu bandits seize engineer in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/04 June) –Kidnappers believed to be the same Abu Sayyaf members holding captive a Filipino-Chinese businessman have seized another victim, this time an engineer of a construction firm undertaking a road project in the island province of Basilan, police and military officials today said.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesperson said the incident took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday in Sitio Libi, Barangay Bulanting, Lamitan City, Basilan.

Cabangbang identified the victim as Virgilio Fernandez, a project engineer of Mace Construction and a native of Cebu.

Mace Construction is undertaking the concreting a section of the circumferential road in Basilan.

Chief Insp. Edwin Placio, Lamitan City police chief, said that Fernandez was together with some workers of Mace Construction aboard a truck en route to Lamitan City when four armed men stopped them in Bulanting.

Placio said the armed men seized Fernandez and fled towards the direction of Tuburan town.

The workers, who were left behind unharmed, rushed to the Lamitan City police station and reported the incident, he said.

The police official said that Fernandez, who was temporarily residing in Barangay Maganda, Lamitan had been receiving threats of kidnapping.

Placio said Fernandez had rented a house in Lamitan since the latter had been working for the project for over a year now.

Cabangbang alleged that two of the kidnappers were identified as Musana Jamiri and Muhmin Jamiri alias Boy, both said to be followers of Abu Sayyaf leader Nurhassan Jamiri.

Troops were deployed to track down the kidnappers, the Army official said.

Still being held captive for over five months now is Lario Tam Delos Santos, the owner of Farmland Resort and Font Restaurant in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan.

Delos Santos was kidnapped last December 16 at his resort in Barangay Lanote, Isabela City by alleged Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly led by Furuji Indama.

The kidnappers initially demanded a P20-million ransom for Delos Santos’s release.

The amount was later lowered to P5 million and further reduced to P1 million. (MindaNews)