Armed men abducted a midwife in Patikul, Sulu, on Monday, barely a year after kidnapping another, authorities said Tuesday.

Colonel Remegio Valdez, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade, identified the victim as Rosally Kiram, a midwife at the Patikul Municipal Health Center.

The incident occurred around 3:15 p.m. while Kiram and fellow health workers Hurul-in Alih, Evelyn Dugasan, Abinnasar Ahajani, and Alhadznie Baiting were passing through Brgy. Liang on an L300 van en route to Jolo.

About 10 armed men wearing military uniforms and bonnets waylaid the van, forcibly took the health workers, and fled towards the forested area south of Liang.

“Anim silang magkakasama pero siya (Kiram) lang ang kinuha… siya ‘yung dinala sa taas, ni-release ‘yung iba,” Valdez said.

Lieutenant Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the armed group’s leader has been identified as one Ninok Sapparis.

Valdez and Cabangbang said the military has yet to determine what group carried out the abduction, but a police report indicated that Sapparis is an Abu Sayyaf member.

Kiram became the second midwife to be abducted in Sulu.

On August 3, 2001, Evangeline Taverisma, of the Rural Health Unit in Brgy. Asturias, Jolo, was also abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf members.

She was rescued by authorities during an operation in Brgy. Kuppung, Indanan, on October 6. (John Roson)

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