Armed men abducted a female gasoline station owner and her secretary at their establishment in Libungan, North Cotabato, Tuesday night, authorities said.

Senior Supt. Roque Alcantara, North Cotabato provincial police director, identified the victims as Petron gasoline station owner Anna Datuwata Cuan and her secretary, identified only by the surname Colona.

Several men arrived at the gas station in Libungan proper around 6:15 p.m. and at gunpoint, forced Cuan and Colona into a van, Alcantara said in a phone interview.

The van, a white Toyota Hi Ace D4D, was “carnapped” or stolen three months ago, he said.

It was found burned in the outskirts of neighboring Midsayap town, near the Liguasan Marsh, after the abductors sped off with Cuan and Colona, Alcantara said.

Alcantara declined to provide more details, saying police, military, and local government officials were still tracking down the victims and the abductors as of Wednesday noon.

Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said members of the 40th Infantry Battalion have been deployed to help police and barangay officials in the pursuit.

Military checkpoints have also been set up in Brgy. Central Labas, Midsayap, he said. (John Roson)

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