Tag Archive: kidnapping for ransom

Three foreigners abducted by alleged Abu Sayyaf members on Samal Island, Davao del Norte, appeared in another video, calling on authorities to help save their lives by meeting their captors’ demands.

The 1 minute and 38-second video, posted on a Facebook page called “Pamantasan Ng Tawheed At Jihaad Filibin” Thursday morning showed Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norweigian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and a woman believed to be Filipina Marites Flor, sitting in a jungle while being surrounded by gunmen.

With one captor holding a bolo against his neck, Ridsdel appealed to the Canadian prime minister and other Canadians to meet the hostage-takers’ demands.

“Please do what’s needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me and they will execute us,” he said.

Hall said they are being held by the Abu Sayyaf for an amount of ransom unknown to him, and the Canadian government should act to get them out soon.

“We got one month before this happens,” he said.

Sekkingstad said he and his fellow hostages are being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“Follow negotiations and try to meet their demand within 30 days or we are all dead,” he said.

The woman believed to be Flor did not speak in the video, where the faces of almost all captors — including the one that held a bolo against Ridsdel’s neck — were seen.

One hostage-taker, who was wearing a black balaclava and sunglasses, spoke for the gunmen.

“We will give a warning for one month preparation for the family to meet the demand. Once you step… the negotiation within one month starting today, March 8, 2016 until April 8, 2016. Then, if you think that your policy is far better for you than the lives of the captives, certainly we will do something terrible against these captives,” he said.

A previous video clip showing Ridsdel, Hall, Sekkingstad, Flor and their captors appeared in the Internet last November, barely two months after they were seized in Samal September 21.

Sought for comment on the new video, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said authorities have yet to determine its “authenticity.”

“Dinulog po natin itong material na ito, itong video na ‘to, sa tanggapan ng ating mga forensic experts at antayin po muna natin ang kanilang ilalahad at ang kanilang mahahanap upang ma-authenticate natin nang ganap,” Padilla told reporters.

He admitted that threats made by the hostage-takers are “serious” and said operations were ongoing to rescue the captives.

“‘Yan po ang ating isinasagawa, di po nagbabago ‘yan, at karamihan po ng ating mga naisagawa nang activities ay nakatuon ang pansin sa, hopefully, pag-rescue sa mga nasabing bihag,” Padilla said.

Last month, the head of the police’s anti-kidnapping unit confirmed that Abu Sayyaf members are holding the four people kidnapped in Samal.

Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, director of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, also confirmed that members of the al Qaeda-linked group are asking P1 billion in exchange for the captives.

Meanwhile, Padilla called on the public to be more “discerning” on what they see and share on social media.

“Maaaring sila ay nagiging bahagi na ng paninira na ginagawa ng mga grupong ito nang di nila nalalaman… Maging mapanuri at maging maingat sa inyong tinitingnan sa social media para di po kayo nagiging bahagi ng isang propaganda,” he said. (John Roson)

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Authorities rescued a 5-year-old boy in Cebu City Tuesday night, after his parents paid ransom to a church-mate who abducted him more than two weeks ago in Bacolod City, police said.

The victim, whose name is being withheld for security, was rescued at the Montesclaros Pension House and Dormitory along Pelaez Ext., around 8:45 p.m., said Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, director of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG).

Suspect Allan Quilbo, 58, a native of Gerona, Tarlac, who attends the same church as the boy’s parents, was arrested when operatives caught him “guarding the victim,” Fajardo said in a statement.

Elements of the AKG Visayas, Regional Intelligence Unit 7, and Cebu City Police carried out the rescue operation after the boy’s parents lodged a complaint.

Quilbo took the child in Bacolod City on January 4 after asking the latter’s parents for permission to bring the minor to a store to buy a coloring book, Fajardo said.

But Quilbo did not return the boy and even demanded ransom from the parents in exchange for the child’s release, he said.

A total of P16,000 was deposited to Quilbo’s bank account but he still did not release the child, so police launched a rescue operation, Fajardo said.

The rescued minor is now with his parents, after having undergone medical examination and stress debriefing.

A case of kidnapping for ransom is now being prepared against Quilbo, who is presently detained at AKG Visayas office, Fajardo said. (John Roson)

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The US government has warned its citizens against staying or traveling to the Zamboanga Peninsula amid what it calls a kidnap threat by terrorists against foreign nationals.

“A credible threat of a terrorist kidnapping-for-ransom plot against foreigners has been identified in the Zamboanga area,” the US embassy said in an advisory issued Wednesday.

The embassy advised all American citizens residing in or planning to travel to Zamboanga to “re-evaluate their personal safety situation and consider postponing travel” to the area.

“Any US government personnel already in Zamboanga have been directed to relocate to a secure area,” the embassy said.

“US government employees planning to travel to Zamboanga have been directed to defer their travel at this time,” it added.

The embassy’s warning came two days after police and military personnel arrested a “lawless element” tagged in the abduction of Italian missionary Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, at a mall in Zamboanga City.

Putot Jakaria was arrested Monday on warrants for illegal detention with robbery and kidnapping with serious illegal detention, Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, Zamboanga City police director, said.

Jakaria is “allegedly” involved in the abduction of Bossi, the police official said.

Bossi was abducted on June 10, 2007 in Zamboanga Sibugay and freed July 19 the same year. He died in Milan, Italy in Sept. 2012 at the age of 62 due to lung cancer.

Maj. Ramon Zagala, chief of the Armed Forces’ public affairs office, said the military respects the US Embassy’s issuance of a travel advisory.

“The AFP deems it appropriate for any country to protect and at all times consider the safety and well-being of their people in their own country or abroad, as we likewise do here in the Philippines,” Zagala said.

He said the military will continue to monitor the security situation in Mindanao to protect Filipinos and foreign citizens.

“We are vigilant and will continue to monitor the security situation in the country, particularly in Mindanao. Our intelligence gathering and network sharing with other law-enforcement agencies, particularly the PNP, are in place to prevent any untoward incident,” Zagala said. (John Roson)

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Sayyaf in arrested in Zambo mall

An alleged Abu Sayyaf member wanted for several kidnapping incidents and the Lamitan Siege was arrested inside a mall in Zamboanga City on Tuesday, police said.

Algaber Said, who has a P600,000 bounty on his head, was arrested at the Gateway Mall around 10:30 a.m., PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo said.

Members of the PNP Special Action Force, Air Force Intelligence and Security Group, and National Bureau of Investigation carried outh the arrest, he said.

Said, who uses the alias Talha, was allegedly involved in the kidnappings in Tumahubong, Golden Harvest Plantation, the Lamitan Siege – all in Basilan – and served as a “spotter” for the Abu Sayyaf’s kidnap-for-ransom activities, Cerbo said.

The suspect has been brought to the NBI Regional Office 9 for investigation, he said. (John Roson)

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An Indian national escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors in Sulu after more than a year of captivity, by taking advantage of the bandits’ fatigue during the fasting month of Ramadan, police said.

Viju Kolara Veetil escaped while his captors were sleeping late Thursday to early Friday, Senior Supt. Antonio Freyra, Sulu provincial director, said.

“He (Veetil) took the chance na pagod at natutulog ‘yung mga nagu-guwardiya sa kanya, so dahan-dahan siyang nakatalilis,” Freyra said in a phone interview.

Abu Sayyaf members, despite their notoriety, adhere to fasting during Ramadan and therefore, experience fatigue caused by lessened eating, according to the official.

“Tingin ko matagal nang pinlano ‘yung pagtakas niya (Veetil), wala naman siyang marka ng ginapos, di naman daw siya ginapos ever since,” Freyra said.

Civilians on a vehicle found Veetil roaming along a road in Brgy. Kadday Mampallam, Patikul, between 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and took him to the home of Board Member Ismun Suhuri.

“He (Veetil) lost weight, more or less 20 kilos, but according to the medical report, okay naman siya. Medyo namumutla dahil di nakakalabas, pero wala kang makikitang galos-galos sa katawan niya,” Freyra said.

Veetil, an operations manager of a South Korean company based in Kuwait, was abducted in June 2011 during his second visit to his wife’s family in Sulu.

His wife, a native Tausug, was “suprised” upon learning that he escaped and told police investigators that no ransom was paid, Freyra said.

Freyra described Veetil’s escape as a “positive development,” saying this helped reduce kidnap victims who are still in captivity.

“At saka buhay siya eh, para sa akin kung may timing ka bakit hindi ka lumayas dun, sa nakakuha sayo, kahit ako (tatakas) eh,” the police official added. (John Roson)

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Kidnappers freed public school teachers Rene Sumagang and Serfino Sanchez of Iligan City in Kapai, Lanao del Sur, on Sunday night but no ransom was paid, a military spokesman said Monday.

Sumagang and Sanchez were turned over by their captors to Tagoloan II Mayor Mizangcad Capal at the old barangay center of Kapai around 7:20 p.m., Army 1st Infantry Division spokesman Capt. Albert Caber said.

“The two were personally handed over by Mangagao Elias alias Ayatullah, leader of the 9-man kidnap-for-ransom group,” Caber said in a text message.

“The kidnappers decided to release their captives after sensing a big number of operating troops in the area,” he said.

Sumagang and Sanchez, both teachers at the Limonsudan Bayug Falls Elementary School, were kidnapped on March 19 in Sitio Kibulag, Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Elias and his men, alleged extortionists and cattle rustlers, had demanded P4 million in exchange for the teachers’ release. They also threatened to burn down their captives’ school in Brgy. Rogongon if no payment was made.

However, Caber said no ransom was paid as Lanao del Sur Gov. Bombit Adiong Jr., along with military and police officials, “exerted pressure” on the kidnappers.

After their release, Sumagang and Sanchez underwent medical checks and debriefing before being turned over to Iligan City Mayor lawrence Cruz and their families. (John Roson)

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Intelligence operatives arrested two suspected Abu Sayyaf members in Mati City, Davao Oriental, for kidnappings in Basilan, police said Saturday.

The two were arrested around 2 p.m. Friday in Brgy. Matiao, Supt. Jose Carumba, Southern Mindanao regional police spokesman, said in a phone interview.

Members of the Mati City Police and the Army, along with operatives of Military Intelligence Groups 9 and 11, carried out the arrest, he said.

Carumba declined to reveal the suspects’ names and present location because of a policy that “sensitive” information on “terror-related” issues can only be released by the government’s Anti-Terrorism Council.

He, however, said the two are suspected of being Abu Sayyaf members and are subject to arrest warrants issued by the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court Branch 9 for kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom.

“Sila (suspects) po ay may warrant of arrest for being part of the 1999 kidnappings sa Basilan, after nung incident naging inactive na, lumayas, dito nagtago,” Carumba said. (John Roson)

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Abu Sayyaf members have demanded P15 million in exchange for the midwife they abducted in Jolo, Sulu, earlier this week, police said.

In a text message, Dir. Felicisimo Khu, chief of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, confirmed the ransom demand and the amount but did not provide other details.

Midwife Evangeline Taverisma, 57, of Brgy. Asturias, was abducted by four armed men Wednesday afternoon while walking home after her duty at the barangay’s Rural Health Unit (RHU).

The abductors, believed be members of the group of Nasir Timbang and a certain commander Palu, are “low-ranking members” of the Abu Sayyaf, Khu said in an earlier phone interview.

Meanwhile, Sonny Abing III, Sulu provincial government spokesman, said the deployment of midwives to RHUs has been “temporarily” stopped due to the abduction.

“Automatic iyon, immediately after noong incident, pag may ganyang insidente kasi delikado para sa kanila (midwives) pero temporary lang naman ito,” Abing said in a phone interview. (John Roson)

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Kidnappers in Sulu released on Monday the wife of a businessman after her family allegedly paid a P100,000 ransom, police said.

Rosely Villadore was freed by her unidentified abductors around 10:30 a.m. beside the Dr. Moreno Medical Clinic along Marina st., Brgy. Walled City, Director Felicisimo Khu, chief of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations, said in a text message Monday night.

“The family allegedly paid a ransom of P100,000 for her safe release,” Khu said.

Villadore, her husband Jose Batronel, and their househelp Julie Latorre, were adbucted by gunmen at their boading house in Sitio Barrio Militar, Brgy. Walled City, on July 13.

Latorre escaped by jumping off the suspects’ getaway vehicle. Batronel was freed on July 17, apparently to to produce money for his wife’s release, Khu said.

Khu said he directed the Sulu Provincial Police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-9 to interview and debrief Villadore so the suspects can be identified and charged. (John Roson)

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