By Francis T. Wakefield and Taj Basman
The military yesterday said that follow-up operations are now being conducted after suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists abducted a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) engineer in Jolo, Sulu on Wednesday morning.
Joint Task Force Sulu Commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, identified the victim as Engr. Enrico Nee of the DPWH-ARMM Sulu 1st District Engineering Office.
“JTF Sulu has alerted all checkpoints to possibly intercept the suspects and safely recover the victim. Massive rescue efforts are also being undertaken by the units of JTF Sulu and the Sulu PNP (Philippine National Police (PNP),” Sobejana said.
“We already recovered the getaway vehicle and closely tracking the escape route. We will not stop our rescue efforts until all kidnap victims are recovered safely,” he added.
Sobejana said the involvement of LGUs in their campaign is also needed against all forms of terrorism in the Province of Sulu.
“We are appealing to the public to immediately inform us on any monitored hostile plans of the terrorist group like the ASG so that we can take immediate appropriate action. The public should be aware that security is everybody’s responsibility,” Sobejana said.
“Ang ginagawa po ng JTF Sulu ay para magiging tahimik at progresibo ang Sulu (What we are doing at JTF Sulu is to make Sulu peaceful and progressive) and the main beneficiaries of all our undertaking are none other than the Tausog residents of Sulu,” he added.
Reports earlier said that the kidnapping incident took place at about 7:45 a.m., at Kasalamatan Village, Jolo, Sulu .
Sobejana said the victim was forcibly taken at gunpoint by a still undetermined number of men onboard a black and red Tamaraw type jeep.
Prior to the incident, the victim was waiting for a tricycle ride approximately 20 minutes from his residence when he was suddenly approached by a person at gunpoint who alighted from the mentioned vehicle and forcibly took him towards Brgy. Anuling, Patikul, Sulu.
Sobejana expressed belief that the incident may be part of the express kidnapping of the ASG to get ransom payment and sustain their terror activities. (Francis T. Wakefield)
COTABATO CITY – The regional secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways said the nearing retirement of the engineer, who was abducted in Sulu yesterday, is a possible motive of the kidnappers.
In an interview Thursday, Regional Secretary Don Loong told Manila Bulletin that the capture of those nearing retirement has been going on since 10 years ago as kidnappers target them for their retirement benefits. He said the usual victims of kidnapping are teachers, engineers and other professionals who are about to retire.
“Tuloy ang pagkabahala at pagkatakot ng aming mga empleyado sa Basilan at Sulu,” Loong lamented. Loong said the DPWH-ARMM is now coordinating with the military and the police to secure all its ground personnel.
4 Abus surrender
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to the military and another was captured by the police in Basilan province in the midst of the sustained military and police operations in the province.
Joint Task Force-Basilan (JTF-Basilan) Commander Brig Gen Juvymax Uy identified the three ASG members as Karim Abubakar, Jimboy Abubakar Aldam, and Imran Arajan Abdulajidz.
Uy said the three who were operating under ASG Sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri, surrendered to the 4th Special Forces Battalion, Special Forces Regiment-Airborne, Special Operations Command stationed at the village of Bana in the town of Tipo-Tipo in Basilan province at 4:45pm, Tuesday Feb 13.
Meanwhile, Police Director for Zamboanga Peninsula Chief Supt Billy Beltran reported that another ASG member – Said Arik alias “Amlah” who is facing seven counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention was arrested by police operatives of Isabela City, Wednesday morning. (With a report from Nonoy E. Lacson)