Philippines form task group to look for abducted Filipino architect

13:28, October 26, 2009      

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Philippine security forces formed a task force to search for a Filipino architect who was the latest victim of kidnapping in the troubled south.

Chief Superintendent Paisal Umpa, police director in the region, told reporters Monday that the task group, composed of police officers, will coordinate with the local Islamic preachers to use their influence in securing the release of architect Pablo Mercado.

Mercado, 45, who work for the Philippine agrarian reform department, was forcibly taken by armed men late Friday in the village of Bubong, Saguiaran town in Lanao del Sur province. Armedmen flagged down Mercado's car and transferred him at gunpoint to a getaway vehicle.

"We will strictly implement a no ransom policy," Paisal said.

Mercado's kidnapping occurred as the police and military authorities were hunting down kidnappers of an ailing 79-year-old Irish Columban priest.

Six gunmen abducted Fr. Michael Sinnott last Oct. 11 from his house in the southern city of Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur.

Sinnott is the second Western missionary kidnapped in southern Philippines in the past five years. Italian priest Giancarlo Bossispent a month in jungle captivity before he was released by Abu Sayyaf militants in 2007.

A group of gunmen in the city of Butuan freed on Sunday night five of seven kidnapped government employees. They earlier freed two of their captives.

Source: Xinhua
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