Tag Archive: kidnapping

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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Two Coast Guard personnel abducted by the Abu Sayyaf escaped and have been found by government troops Thursday following a clash with the al Qaeda-linked group in Indanan, Sulu, the military said.

Soldiers found SN2 Gringo Villaruz in Brgy. Buanza around 7 a.m. and SN1 Rod Pagaling around 8:30 a.m., Captain Antonio Bulao, public affairs officer of the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Group-Sulu, said.

“Villaruz was able to escape from his captors at the height of firefight,” Bulao said in a text message.

Both Villaruz and Pagaling were not injured but have been taken to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Trauma Hospital in Jolo for medical checks, he said.

The duo’s recovery came hours after troops battled about 100 Abu Sayyaf members led by sub-commanders Yasser Igasan and Alhabsy Misaya in Brgy. Buanza.

Members of the Army’s elite Scout Rangers, backed by cannon fire, stormed a bandit lair in that barangay from 5:25 p.m. to 7 p.m. in an operation aimed at rescuing kidnap victims.

As much as 15 Abu Sayyaf men were reportedly killed in the clash though only five bodies have so far been recovered, according to a report from the task group.

Some of them were identified as Joy Juliyon, Arapat Bagadi, Majindi, Sarman Aidarud, Mandi, Arapat Hadjiri, Dunni Ammin, Salman Wahid, Majindi Kamlun, and Runni Said.

Abu Sayyaf members Abdel Dela Cruz, Sherwin Dela Cruz, Mawalil, Duni, Bidah, Lasis Jihili, and Kapatud Sarman were reportedly wounded.

Four members of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion were slightly wounded, Bulao said.

They were identified as Pfcs. Elvin Bacalargio, Johnrie Melegrito, Johnzen Tagumpay, and Cpl. Earl Bompat.

Troops are still verifying information that Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Alden Bagadi was killed in the clash and have confirmed that his cousin Arafat died, Bulao said.

Villaruz and Pagaling were abducted along with Brgy. Aliguay chairman Rodolfo Buligao in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, last May 4.

Abu Sayyaf members threatened to behead the three if the P1-million ransom demand for each of them was not given.

Buligao’s severed head and body were found at a road junction in Maimbung town August 11.

Nine kidnap victims, four of whom are foreigners, remain in the hands of Abu Sayyaf members in different parts of Sulu after Villaruz and Pagaling’s recovery, Bulao said.

Villaruz and Pagaling had been spotted with 200 bandits and four other captives, three of whom have foreign-sounding surnames, three days before the assault in Indanan, according to a military report.

The foreign captives who had been with Villaruz and Pagaling are Malaysian and Korean nationals, Bulao said.

“Troops are still scouring areas around the clash site, looking for the other captives,” he said. (John Roson)

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As much as 17 Abu Sayyaf members were killed as government troops carried out back-to-back assaults on lairs of the al Qaeda-linked group in Basilan and Sulu provinces on Wednesday, the military said.

Up to 15 bandits were killed as troops encountered about 100 Abu Sayyaf members in Indanan town while trying to rescue kidnap victims, according to a report from the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Group-Sulu.

Elements of the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion clashed with followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-commanders Yasser Igasan and Alhabsy Misaya in Brgy. Buanza 5:25 p.m., the task group said in a report.

Artillery rounds were fired to support the Rangers, while soldiers from the 35th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade, and 32nd Infantry Battalion were mobilized to prevent the Abu Sayyaf from sending reinforcements.

Fighting lasted until 7 p.m. and clearing operations are still underway, task group public affairs officer Captain Antonio Bulao said.

Five bodies and three firearms have so far been recovered. No casualties were reported among the troops.

A report reaching the military headquarters in Manila indicated that the bandits in Indanan were holding six captives, including three who have foreign-sounding surnames and two Coast Guard members.

Hours earlier, around 11 a.m., another clash broke out between soldiers and another band of Abu Sayyaf members in neighboring Basilan.

Troops were conducting combat operations when they encountered about 60 bandits in an Abu Sayyaf “stronghold” in Brgy. Baiwas, Sumisip, Joint Task Group-Basilan public affairs officer Lt. Sally Magno said.

Two Abu Sayyaf members and a soldier were killed, while another trooper and six more bandits were injured, she said.

Combat operations are being conducted to “clear Sumisip of Abu Sayyaf presence, which has been hampering socio-economic activities and threatening lives,” Magno 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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Security forces will continue the hunt for Abu Sayyaf members and will not pull out troops in Sulu even after the bandit group freed two German captives, Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said.

“No pullout. We’re all out to conduct law enforcement operations,” Catapang said in a text message late Friday.

The military chief made the remark when asked what will happen to operations mounted against the Abu Sayyaf after the bandits freed Germans Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen.

More than 2,000 soldiers from five Marine battalions, two Army infantry battalions, a company of Army Special Forces, and military K-9 units are in Sulu, making it the province with the biggest concentration of military forces.

The count does not include Navy sailors on vessels, Air Force pilots manning combat helicopters, and “force multipliers” comprised of armed civilian volunteers.

The Abu Sayyaf, according to the military, has an estimated armed strength of about 400 and an undetermined number of supporters.

Catapang, in a visit to Sulu last Sunday, said the bandit group was still holding some 15 hostages, of whom nine are foreigners including Okonek and Dielen.

Okonek, who the Abu Sayyaf had threatened to behead Friday afternoon, was freed along with Dielen in Patikul town 8:50 p.m. the same day, Catapang said.

The Germans, abducted by Abu Sayyaf men in waters between Palawan and Borneo on April 25, were released by their captors in Brgy. Kaday Mapallam, Chief Supt. Noel delos Reyes, director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police, said in a separate text message.

Okonek and Dielen were later brought to the 2nd Marine Brigade headquarters in Camp Teodulfo Bautista, Brgy. Busbus, Jolo, for medical attention, Delos Reyes said.

Military and police officials confirmed the release about an hour after Abu Rami, spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf, announced it in an interview by a radio station in Zamboanga City.

“Walang labis, walang kulang,” Abu Rami said when asked if ransom was paid. The Abu Sayyaf had demanded P250 million in exchange for the Germans.

Following their release, Okonek and Dielen were transported to Zamboanga City on a Navy vessel. 

Okonek, in his 70s, appeared thin, was limping, and had a dextrose on during his stay at the Navy office in Majini Pier, Zamboanga, video clips provided by the AFP Western Mindanao Command showed.

Okonek and Dielen were flown to Manila hours later, and arrived at the Villamor Air Base around 6:45 a.m. Saturday, AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said.

“The Embassy of Germany made arrangements for this and has taken custody of them,” Tutaan said.

The military previously said that the German government had been negotiating for Okonek and Dielen’s release.

Tutaan and other military officials, however, could not confirm whether money had indeed exchanged hands.

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs chief, insisted that “military pressure” forced the Abu Sayyaf to free the Germans.

“Kung may nagbayad diyan, hindi namin alam, kung German ba ‘yan o ano, basta sa side namin hindi kami nakipag-negotiate sa kanila, nag-deploy kami ng tropa,” he told reporters.

Cabunoc confirmed an earlier radio report that soldiers had surrounded the bandits holding Okonek.

“As early as kahapon (Friday), madaling-araw pa, pinalibutan namin… may special operations, may mga snipers tayo dun pero may utos din kasi na i-ensure na hindi mabaril ‘yung hostage,” he said.

Cabunoc said pursuit operations are now ongoing to capture Abu Sayyaf members and recover their remaining captives.

“We are pursuing them, full scale ang deployment dahil ang gusto ni chief of staff ay ipakita din naman ng Armed Forces na hindi lang naman Germans ang dahilan at nagdeploy tayo, we are thinking about the 10 other hostages as well,” he said. (John Roson)

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Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) freed five persons, including a former vice-mayor, after “arresting” them in Baloi, Lanao del Norte, the military said Saturday.

Former Baloi Vice Mayor Abdullah Balas, Brgy. Cadayunan chairman Mohammad Amer Arumpac, former Brgy. East Poblacion chairman Salonga Pacuti, and two other civilians were freed 5:30 p.m. Friday, Army 1st Infantry Division spokesman Capt. Jefferson Somera said.

Members of the MILF seized the five past 6 p.m. Thursday during a “saturation drive” in Brgy. Poblacion East, he said.

Fully-armed MILF members led by Commander Abdul Jalal Macalunto of the North Western Mindanao Front forcibly took the five and brought them to their camp in Lanao del Sur, Somera said.

“‘Yung MILF kasi, nagko-conduct ng saturation drive, tinawag nila na anti-drugs saka anti-gambling saturation, ‘yun ang sabi nila,” he said.

Somera, however, said the military believes that the incident was a case of “kidnapping” as the victims’ families were reported to have paid money for their release.

“Nalaman namin na bago na-release, nag-ransom ng P15,000 each, so we believe na simple kidnapping ‘yun,” he said.

Somera said the military is leaving it to the police to determine if the incident will be considered as a kidnapping case. (John Roson)

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Suspected Abu Sayyaf members abducted two Filipino-Algerians working for a royalty, in Patikul, Sulu, Saturday morning, a military official said.

Col. Jose Johriel Cenabre, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, identified the victims as siblings Linda Abdel Basit and Nadova Abdel Basit.

The two work as public relations officers for the group Tausug Citizen, which is led by Sultan Bantilan Muhammad Muizzuddin and based in Brgy. Kajatian, Indanan, Cenabre said in a text message.

The abduction occurred around 9:30 a.m. in Sitio Baunuh, Brgy. Liang.

Information gathered from the area indicated that Linda and Nadova were riding a passenger jeepney from Jolo to Patikul, when eight armed men flagged down the vehicle and took the sisters, Cenabre said.

The abductors, believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf’s so-called “urban terrorist group,” were led by a certain Ninok Sappari, according to the military official.

Pursuit operations have been launched to track down the abductors and victims, he said. (John Roson)

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Seven Marine troopers and four Abu Sayyaf members were killed while at least 19 other combatants were injured as government forces clashed with the bandit group in Patikul, Sulu, early Saturday, the military said.

Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the clash started around 6:30 a.m., while members of the Marines’ Force Reconnaissance Company were conducting operations in Brgy. Tugas.

“This is part of the ongoing tracking and pursuit operations in relation to the recent kidnapping of a Marine’s wife in Sulu,” Gregorio said in a text message.

There were many casualties because the troops were “ambushed,” a security official monitoring the situation said, on condition of anonymity.

Gregorio said the “close firefight” resulted in the death of seven soldiers and injuries to nine others.

On the Abu Sayyaf, 10 were wounded and four others, including one Kausar Sawadjaan and a certain commander Apong Idol, were killed, he said.

As of Saturday noon, soldiers and policemen were still conducting “follow through actions” against the Abu Sayyaf.

“The safety and well-being of the community is paramount consideration. Focused military operations will continue to be observed,” Gregorio said.

On May 18, suspected Abu Sayyaf members abducted Casilda Villarasa, wife of Marine Sgt. Faustino Villarasa, in front of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Jolo.

Villarasa, who works as a medical technologist at the IPHO, is believed to have been taken by her abductors to the jungles of Patikul. (John Roson)

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Armed men abducted a radio reporter and commentator inside a restaurant in Candelaria, Quezon, early Sunday, police said.

Melinda Jennifer Glifonea, of 103.1 FM Edge Radio, was abducted shortly before 4 a.m., while she was eating at the Lugawan ng Masa restaurant along Argao st., Brgy. Poblacion, Chief Insp. Edcille Canals, Quezon provincial police spokesman, said.

Two men wearing bull caps and had their faces covered with handkerchiefs arrived at the restaurant on a silver Toyota Innova, drew short firearms, and declared a heist, Canals said.

The gunmen ordered everyone inside the restaurant to lie on the floor, forcibly took Glifonea to their vehicle, then fled towards the direction of Brgy. Pahinga Norte and the Candelaria Bypass road, he said.

The incident was captured on the establishment’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera.

The abductors’ vehicle had its registration plate covered, but its conduction sticker 7858 was seen, Canals said.

Members of the Candelaria Police are still tracking down the abductors and the victim as of this writing. (John Roson)

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Authorities rescued a Korean woman from kidnappers in Iligan City on Sunday night, but she was injured as the suspects engaged the lawmen in a shootout, police said.

Yeung Ting Ting, 45, suffered a bullet wound during the firefight and was brought to the Dr. Uy Hospital for treatment, Supt. Ronnie Francis Cariaga, Northern Mindanao regional police spokesman, said.

According to Cariaga, six armed men took Yeung from the Hong Jek Merchandise store along Quezon ave. around 7 p.m. and forced her into a red Toyota Lite Ace van (GSH-351).

Members of Iligan City Public Safety Company launched an operation to rescue the foreigner and intercepted the abductors’ vehicle along C-3 Road, Brgy. Santa Elena.

A brief firefight ensued, resulting in the wounding of Yeung and one of the suspects, Cariaga said.

The abductors eventually left Yeung and their vehicle, and escaped to a hilly area, he said. (John Roson)

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