Tag Archive: abduction

Rebels snatch 10 persons in Caraga

Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted seven militiamen, two policemen, and a civilian in separate incidents in the Caraga region on Sunday and Monday, authorities said Tuesday.

Mario Libanda, 39; Tuloy Libanda, 36; Rejoy Francisco, 25; and Rubio Asalan, 23, all members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA), were abducted at a checkpoint manned by about 30 rebels in Brgy. Mahayhay, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, around 9 a.m. Monday, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

The militiamen were riding a motorcycle to Brgy. Binicalan, San Luis, when they were flagged down at the rebel checkpoint, he said.

The fully-armed men at the roadblock are believed to be members of the NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 88, Cabangbang said.

Militiamen assigned to nearby Army detachments have been directed to track down the rebels while local officials of San Luis have created a crisis management task group to work for the victims’ release, he said.

The abduction occurred only several hours after other NPA members abducted two policemen in Loreto, also in Agusan del Sur, on Sunday night.

PO2 Ronald Alan Muñez and PO1 Nemuel España, both assigned at the Loreto Police Station, were abducted by about six rebels in Brgy. Poblacion around 11:15 p.m. Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

Muñez and España were conducting surveillance operations against the suspect for a stabbing incident in Sitio Moto, when the rebels seized and brought them towards Sitio Marang, Brgy. Kasapa, Gamba said.

The local government of Loreto has activated a crisis management committee to work for the hostages’ release, he said.

Earlier on Sunday, rebels abducted three more militiamen and a civilian in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

At least five rebels abducted CAA members Evangeline Cabodbod, Leonardo Sevellejo Sr., Danny Sevellejo, and civilian Vicente Bolgado near Road 4H in Sitio Greenfield, Brgy. Sta. Juana, around 10 a.m., according to a report from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

The four had just attended mass when they were seized by armed men who are believed to be members of the NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 14, the report said.

Capt. Christian Uy, acting spokesman of the 4th ID, confirmed the report, but said the rebels have already freed Bolgado.

The incident occurred less than an hour after five rebel snipers fired at the 23rd Infantry Battalion’s patrol base in Sitio Greenfield.

Lito Dagium, one of the militiamen manning the patrol base that time, suffered a bullet wound to the right side of the body due to the sniping.

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A band of New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted a soldier and a policeman while conducting a “checkpoint” in Laak, Compostela Valley, on Thursday, a military official said.

Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, head of the Army’s 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion, identified the abducted soldier as Pfc. Jezreel Culango and the policeman, PO1 Ruel Pasion.

The two were abducted by members of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee’s Front 34, who conducted a checkpoint in Sitio Mangob, Brgy. Imelda, around 9 a.m., Obligado said in a text message late Thursday night.

Culango, based in Brgy. Sawata, San Isidro, Davao del Norte, was on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brgy. Mangloy when he was seized, Obligado said.

Pasion, assigned at the San Isidro Police Station, also happened to pass by the checkpoint when he was abducted, according to the military official.

The rebels, of whom 12 were seen sporting military attires and 18 in civilian clothes, were last seen heading towards Sitio Tugpahan, Brgy. Imelda, along with their captives, Obligado said.

Police and military personnel are were sent to pursue the rebels.

The abduction came just two days after the government and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ended an “extended” holiday ceasefire.

On Thursday, the CPP also warned of more offensives by the NPA, in response to new Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista’s pronouncement to make insurgency “irrelevant” during his term.

“The New People’s Army continues to grow in number and in terms of firepower… Over the next few years, the NPA and the people’s militias will be able to initiate more frequent and widespread tactical offensives at the front, regional, inter-regional and national levels,” the CPP’s information bureau said in a statement.

“General Bautista cannot stop the momentum of growth of the New People’s Army,” it added.

Bautista, who is credited for the military’s current counter-insurgency plan “Bayanihan,” took over as AFP chief of staff on Thursday. (John Roson)

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Armed men abducted a businessman at his eatery near the shore of Zamboanga City on Friday night, police said.

Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, officer-in-charge of the Zamboanga City Police, identified the victim as Edgar Favella, 50, owner of a “carinderia” along the highway near the shore of Brgy. Maasin.

Favella is also engaged in logistics and transport services, owning some hauling trucks, a source said.

Five men, of whom two were carrying short firearms, seized Favella in front of his eatery around 6:45 p.m. and forced him into a pumpboat, De Ocampo said in a phone interview.

Favella’s son Sandy saw the commotion and tried to fight off the abductors, but withdrew when one pointed a gun at him, De Ocampo said.

Tutulungan sana niya ‘yung tatay niya dahil nakita niya dun sa labas, eh nung tinutukan na siya ng baril din, tumakbo na siya sa loob nung karinderya,” the police official said.

Parang mga bagito (ang mga abductor)… kasi nakipagsuntukan pa,” De Ocampo noted.

Three of the abductors took Favella with them on the pumpboat while the other two escaped on a motorcycle, he said.

Members of the local police, Navy, PNP Special Action Force, and Maritime Group scoured the shores and waters of Brgy. Maasin until Saturday morning, but found no sign of the abductors.

De Ocampo said there is a possibility that the abductors took Favella to Basilan so he alerted authorities there about the abduction.

Maasin, part of Zamboanga City’s 136-kilometer shoreline, lies in the east coast facing Basilan, he noted.

Intelligence operatives have also been ordered to check the coast thoroughly, De Ocampo added. (John Roson)

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Authorities arrested an alleged Abu Sayyaf member wanted for the abduction of Jehovah’s Witnesses preachers in Sulu 10 years ago, during an operation in Zamboanga City on Friday.

Suspect Walid Amping was arrested in Brgy. Tulongatung around 11:20 a.m., Senior Supt. James Mejia, Zamboanga City Police director, said.

The arrest was made after witnesses positively identified the suspect, Mejia said.

Amping, who was only in his teens during the abduction, has been using the name Alexander Antonio after going into hiding, said a police source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

The suspect’s real name was only discovered when relatives visited him in detention, the source said.

Amping is presently being investigated for his possible involvement in the abduction of school teacher Flordeliza Ongchua in Brgy. Labuan on Nov. 13, the source added.

Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said Amping, who also uses the alias Tuma, is facing six counts of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention.

Members of the Army’s Task Force Zamboanga, 3rd Air Division, and Zamboanga City Police carried out the arrest on a warrant issued by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 Judge Toribio Ilao, he said.

On Aug. 20, 2002, Abu Sayyaf members kidnapped six Jehovah’s Witnesses preachers and their Muslim guide in Jolo, Sulu, and later beheaded two of the victims. (John Roson)

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Teacher abducted in Zamboanga City

Armed men abducted a public school teacher in a coastal barangay of Zamboanga City on Tuesday, just a few days after an alleged Abu Sayyaf member wanted for kidnappings was arrested in the same area.

Flordeliza Ongchua, 48, was abducted at her home in Purok 5, Brgy. Labuan, around 7:15 p.m., Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Zamboanga Peninsula regional police director, said.

Ongchua, a teacher at the Labuan Elementary School, was at the kitchen when two men barged into the house, dragged her towards the shore, and forced her into a motorized banca, Estilles said.

The abductors, along with the victim and several others, fled to a still unknown direction, he said.

A security guard in the area later told police that the suspects, along with Ongchua, even passed by his post and disarmed him of his M16 rifle at gunpoint.

One policeman, identified only as PO3 Quillo, was on duty at the detachment near the shore and was also disarmed by a group of men believed to be the abductors’ “backup,” Estilles said.

Senior Supt. James Mejia, Zamboanga City Police director, said investigators have yet to identify the abductors.

The abduction occurred just three days after police intelligence operatives arrested alleged Abu Sayyaf member Jamiri Jawali Hamid in Brgy. Labuan.

Hamid, who uses the alias Abu Gabby, was arrested on a warrant for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, on Saturday, Estilles said.

The case stemmed from the kidnapping incident at the Golden Harvest in Brgy. Tairan, Lantawan, on June 11, 2001, he said. (John Roson)

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Kidnappers believed to be Abu Sayyaf members freed Mayor Jeffrey Lim of Salug, Zamboanga del Norte, on Monday night, more than seven months after holding him captivity, authorities said.

Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Zamboanga Peninsula regional police director, said Lim was freed around 10 p.m. somewhere in Zamboanga City, where the latter “was picked-up by a mediator.”

Lim and the unnamed “mediator” arrived at the mayor’s home in Salug around 3 a.m., after which the town executive took a rest and underwent debriefing, Estilles said.

Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said it is believed that Abu Sayyaf members abducted Lim and held him captive in Basilan.

“Ang tinuturo ay ASG kasi galing sa Zamboanga at sinabi na dinala pa sa Basilan, sa ngayon ASG ang tinuturo,” Caber told reporters by phone.

A P1.1-million ransom was reportedly paid in exchange for Lim’s release, but both Estilles and Caber said this was still unconfirmed.

“May na-receive kaming report na meron daw ibinigay na ransom money pero hindi pa namin ma-confirm ‘yun,” Caber said.

The 36-year-old Lim was abducted by about 10 men while having dinner at a food outlet in the bus terminal in Salug town proper on April 2.

The suspects were said to be carrying high-powered firearms and clad in shirts marked with “Pulis” and camouflage pants.

One of the men reportedly asked Lim to “sign” some documents before the others arrived and dragged the town executive into a multi-cab.

The suspects drove the multi-cab towards the adjacent barangay of Caracol, where police found the vehicle abandoned and burned.

Lim was then allegedly transferred to one of two white fishing boats “waiting” at the shore and were later seen negotiating towards Salug Bay. (John Roson)

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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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Authorities arrested two alleged Abu Sayyaf members wanted for the abduction of more than 20 people, including some foreigners, at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan in 2001, during an operation in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte, Wednesday night.

Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, identified the suspects as Jojo Imam Pai and a certain “Aling.”

Members of the 101st Brigade arrested the two around 10:40 p.m. in Sitio Bukana, Brgy. Usukan, Caber said in a text message.

The arrest was carried out on warrants for cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, which stemmed from the Dos Palmas kidnapping, he said.

After their arrest, the suspects were brought to Zamboanga City where they are undergoing custodial debriefing.

On May 27, 2001, Abu Sayyaf members led by Abu Jumdail alias Dr. Abu abducted 21 workers and tourists, including three Americans, at the Dos Palmas resort.

The three Americans comprise Guillermo Sobero and missionary copule Martin and Gracia Burnham.

Sobero was beheaded the same year while Martin Burnham was killed when Abu Sayyaf members clashed with government troops who were conducting a rescue operation, on June 2002. (John Roson)

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(Update) New People’s Army (NPA) members released three officials of a mining company in Rosario, Agusan del Sur, Saturday evening, after police and military troops agreed to suspend operations against the rebels.

Christopher Ocite, Gani Altaya, and Joel Jayuma, operations manager, assistant operations manager, and security officer of VPO Mining, respectively, were freed around 7:45 p.m., Supt. Martin Gamba, Caraga regional police spokesman, said.

Josefina Bajade, the designated chief negotiator, fetched the three at an undisclosed area in Rosario and brought them to the home of Ocite’s father Vivencio who also owns VPO Mining, Gamba said.

Before the release, military and police forces in the province stopped combat-pursuit operations against the rebels as requested by Rosario’s crisis management committee.

The committee made the request in a resolution addressed to the Agusan del Sur provincial police director and unit commanders of the Armed Forces, Gamba said.

Operations were stopped 2 p.m. and will remain suspended for 24 hours, 2Lt. Hazel Tabago, commander of the Army’s civil-military operations unit in the area, said.

“Hindi naman sa pinapabyaan sila (rebels), pero ang primary concern was the safe release of the hostages,” Tabago said in a mobile phone message.

“As to the next step, the military, especially the 401st Infantry Brigade under Col. Romeo Gan, thru the 75th Infantry Battalion and in coordination with the local police and government unit, will have to take some legal actions to make those criminals answer for the crime they have just committed,” she said.

Ocite, Altaya, and Jayuma were abducted and used as “human shields” when the rebels escaped after raiding the VPO Mining compound on Thursday, Tabago said. (John Roson)

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Armed men abducted a 15-year-old girl in Aleosan, North Cotabato, just a day after her elder sister was abducted and raped, also by still unidentified persons, authorities said.

Colonel Prudencio Asto, Army 6th Infantry Division public affairs chief, said Joy (not her real name) was abducted around 7 a.m. Monday in Brgy. Pagangan 2.

The girl was walking along a trail to the National Highway when two armed men seized her and took her towards Brgy. Lagundi, Pikit, on a motorcycle, Asto said.

Policemen and soldiers launched pursuit operations upon learning the incident, but the abductors and victim were already gone.

After her abduction, relatives managed to contact Joy once through her cellphone, but she could only relay sketchy descriptions of her location and status, Senior Supt. Cornelio Salinas, North Cotabato Provincial Police director, said.

The incident occurred just a day after Joy’s 17-year-old sister Joanna (not her real name), was also abducted.

Six men snatched Joanna from their backyard on Sunday, Salinas said.

Policemen, soldiers, and militiamen were deployed to look for Joanna the same day, until she was found at a hilly area about 2 kilometers from the National Highway.

Joanna was later brought to the Aleosan District Hospital, where she was found to have been raped, Salinas said.

It was not immediately known if the abductions are connected, or if those who abducted Joanna include the ones who took Joy.

Police are still investigating the two incidents and are trying to locate Joy with the military’s help, Salinas said. (John Roson)

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