GUNMEN believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits have kidnapped five Zamboangueño construction workers in the province of Sulu, the police said Saturday, July 15.
The Sulu Police Provincial Office said that the incident took place around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at the Kawmpang Elementary School Sports Complex in the village of Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu.
The police identified the victims as Joel Adanza, Jung Guerrero, Edmundo “Momoy” Ramos, Jayson “Joker” Ramos, and Jenly Miranda. Except for Miranda of Pasonanca village, all are residents of Tumaga village, Zamboanga City.
The police said that Larry Velasquez, 25, a companion of the victims, reported to the police that about 20 gunmen barged into their quarters while they were sleeping.
Velasquez managed to escape at the height of the incident, according to the police.
Policemen, upon receipt of report, conducted search and possible rescue operation but yielded negative result.
Continuous information gathering is being conducted to determine the whereabouts of the victims.
Two of the victim’s relatives, namely Amy Guerrero and Dayang Ramos, said the bandits have demanded P1 million ransom for each victim.
Guerrero and Ramos said the ransom demand was relayed to them through a mobile phone by a man who identified himself as a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The bandits behind the incident belong to the Ajang-Ajang group led by bandit sub-leader Ben Saudi.
The latest kidnapping the Abu Sayyaf bandits have perpetrated occurred hours before President Rodrigo Duterte and other top government officials arrived in the province of Sulu.
Duterte visited and pinned medals to the troops, who were wounded in a clash last week against the rebels.
The kidnapping Saturday of the five construction workers have brought the number of captives to 25, including 16 foreigners.
The foreigners included eight Vietnamese, seven Indonesians, and a Dutch birdwatcher. (SunStar Philippines)