Abu Sayyaf kills 1 of 2 abductees in Philippines south
Security forces tracking down some 30 suspected gunmen who seized 2 government-employed mechanics; 1 found dead.
Philippine security forces continued efforts Monday to track down some 30 suspected gunmen from an al-Qaeda linked group who seized two government employed mechanics – one of whom has been found dead in the country's Muslim south.
Senior Supt. Abraham Orbita, police chief of Sulu province, said around 30 armed Abu Sayyaf members stormed the provincial government's motorpool in Patikul town at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, abducting chief mechanic Ronald Pelegrin, 39, and his assistant Dante Avila, 29.
In his report to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman, Orbita said that police troopers backed by Philippine marines were dispatched Sunday to hunt the abductors, who are believed to have fled to the jungles of neighboring towns.
He added that the body of Avila, who had been shot by the suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen, was found dead Sunday.
Saturday night's abduction comes a month after four social workers were seized by Abu Sayyaf militants in Talipao town.
social workers had been on their way to validate beneficiaries in an assistance program for poor families and to monitor Pamana, a project for families of former Muslim rebels, when they were kidnapped on July 18.
The four were later released separately through negotiations carried out under the direction of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.
Meanwhile, police chief Orbita confirmed that a photograph of two missing German tourists surrounded by gunmen in the Philippines south had surfaced on Facebook.
"Yes, it's confirmed that they are being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group and all we can do now is to locate and monitor their movements," Orbita said last week, adding that the group is led by a certain Alhabshi Misaya who operates in Indanan town.
The couple was reportedly abducted while sailing to Malaysia's Sabah from the Philippines' Palawan island province on April 14.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.
During the past week, members of the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have pledged support to the Islamic State (IS), a militant group formerly known as ISIS that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, in videos posted on Youtube.
The IS links, however, have yet to be verified by the Philippines military.
Army spokesperson Domingo Tutaan has asked Philippine journalists to be "circumspect in reporting the alleged linkages," stressing that such reporting may cause undue alarm.
BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Philippines' once largest Muslim rebel group who signed the "Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro" peace deal with the government March 27.
The military has accused BIFF – which espouses an independent Islamic state - of initiating recent hostilities in a bid to stop the agreement's implementation.
Last Modified: 2014-08-18 09:28:41
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