Suspected henchmen of kidnap group leader Waning Abdusalam abducted two Chinese businessmen at their home in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, Monday night, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Captain Albert Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, identified the victims as James Lou and Jampong Linyuan Kai, both natives of Guangdong, China, and engaged in buying mineral ore.

Six fully-armed men forcibly took the Chinese nationals from their home in Brgy. Francisco L. Peña around 8 p.m. and forced them into a white van, Caber said in a text message.

The van was seen heading towards Sitio Olingan, Brgy. Salipyasin, were it was later found abandoned and burned, he said.

The “modus operandi” of barging into a victim’s home, forcing them into a vehicle, and leaving the vehicle burned has led the military to suspect that the kidnappers are henchmen of Abdulgani “Waning” Abdusalam.

“‘Yung istilo na ito, istilo ni Waning Abdusalam,” Caber said, citing information from Maj. Ramon Torres, intelligence officer of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade.

Senior Supt. Ruben Cariaga, Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Police director, said investigation showed that the suspects posed as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.

“Itong si Waning Abdusalam hindi natin alam kung nasaan na siya, basta ang alam natin mayroon siyang grupo,” Caber said, adding that four platoons of soldiers have been deployed to help police pursue the abductors and conduct checkpoints.

Last October 15, police and military assaulted Abdusalam’s lair in Payao, with Air Force planes dropping bombs and the Army sending in elite troops.

The assault ended on October 27, with government forces recieving information that Abdusalam was badly wounded and barely able to walk.

Director Felicisimo Khu, then head of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said he was informed last December that Abdusalam died in November and was buried in an island in Zamboanga City. (John Roson)

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