Teenager freed, business couple seized

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – A teenager kidnapped almost two months ago in Basilan province by alleged Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels was freed Wednesday, a police official yesterday said.

But only two hours after the teenager’s release, five “young gunmen” reportedly seized a business couple in the island province of Sulu.

Senior Supt. Alex Linesis, Basilan police director said the 16-year-old victim was released around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the boundary of Akbar and Tuburan towns, Basilan.

Linesis said police on patrol recovered the boy, a resident of Barangay Lumuton, Lamitan City.

It was not immediately known if ransom was paid for the release of the victim, who was placed under debriefing procedures.

The victim was reported missing since May 19 after he failed to return home. He reportedly went along with friends identified as Nadzmir Abubakar alias Marvin and Arasa Join, an alleged MILF commander, to play billiard games.

A few days later, the boy’s family received a call from an unidentified man demanding P2.5 million in ransom.

Police had filed cases of kidnapping with serious illegal detention against the kidnappers including Abubakar and Join.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said the couple was seized around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday from their boarding house in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.

Cabangbang identified the victims as Joe Patronal, 50, and his wife, Jocelyn, 30, who are from Batangas City and engaged in the business of foam, appliances, and lending.

They were forced to board a Tamarraw jeep by five gunmen and brought to a still unknown place, Cabangbang said. (MindaNews)