ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits seized six health workers in a remote barangay in Patikul, Sulu Monday afternoon but released five of the victims shortly after, the military said.
Less than an hour earlier, another group of armed men also abducted two public school teachers in a hinterland village in Iligan City.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said the Sulu incident took place around 3:15 p.m. Monday in Barangay Liang in Patikul.
He said the victims were aboard an L-300 van traveling from Barangay Taglibi en route to Jolo when waylaid by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Cabangbang, however, disclosed that only a midwife remains in captivity since the other five health workers were freed an hour after they were seized by the Abu Sayyaf bandits led by a certain Ninok Sapparis.
The bandits took the victims towards the forested area south of Barangay Liang where five of the six victims were freed, he added. Still in captivity is Roselyn Kiram, 54, the midwife of Patikul town.
In Iligan, the two teachers were abducted 2:30 p.m. at Purok Tibulag, sitio Limonsodan of Barangay Rogongon, the city’s farthest barangay.
In a radio interview Tuesday morning, Iligan councilor Moises Dalisay Jr., chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s committee on police, public safety and order, said they received the report Monday evening with Mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz.
Authorities identified the kidnap victims as Rene Somagang of Barangay Villaverde and Keno Sanchez of Barangay Tubod. Sources said the two were on board a motorcycle from the city proper to Limonsodan Bayug Falls Elementary School when armed men flagged down the vehicle.
Councilor Ariel Anghay, chair of the committee on education, said the suspects could be still the same people involved in illegal logging who lost their income after the declaration of a total log ban after the deadly tropical storm Sendong devastated many parts of the city due to logs carried by the flood. (MindaNews)