ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/22 August) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits seized two victims in Sulu, a military official disclosed Monday.
Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said the latest incident took place 5:20 p.m. Sunday in Sitio Baunoh, Barangay Latih, Patikul town.
Cabangbang identified the victims as Ambon Blas, 60 and Perlita Bagay, 25, both merchants of used clothing locally known as “ukay-ukay.”
They were seized by a group of gunmen led by alleged Abu Sayyaf leader Basarun Aruk, he added.
The military official said the victims, who are residents of Barangay Liang, Patikul, were aboard a motorcycle on the way home when the Aruk’s group reportedly blocked their path near the Latih Elementary School and seized them.
Cabangbang said the police and military are still tracking down the victims and their abductors.
Police claimed Aruk was one of those who were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Gabriel Canizares, a school principal of the elementary school in Barangay Tanum, Patikul, on October 19, 2009.
Canizares was beheaded on November 9 of the same year by his abductors.
Police have filed charges of kidnapping and murder against Aruk and his followers two of whom were identified as Edimar Isnain and Abdulaptip Jalmani.
The latest incident has brought to seven the number of captives who are reportedly in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu.
Two of the other hostages are foreigners–a Malaysian and an Indian–while the rest are two crewmembers of a Zamboanga City-based fishing firm and a midwife.
Mohammad Nasaruddin Bin Saidin, 38, a Malaysian gecko trader, was kidnapped last May 8 in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan town. Biju Kolara Veetil, 36, who is married to a Sulu native, was kidnapped last June 22 in Barangay Tempok, Patikul.
Renato Panisales, boat captain, and Wennie Ferrer, assistant engineer, of Mega 8 light boat of the Mega Fishing Corporation were kidnapped last March 19 near Menes Island, Panglima Tahil town.
The midwife identified as Hadja Evangeline Taverisma, 55, was seized last August 3 in Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu. (MindaNews)