Gunmen seize four in S Philippines

09:41, February 15, 2010      

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Gunmen separately seized at least four people, including a businessman in the restive southern Philippines over the weekend, officials said Monday.

In the southern province of Sulu where Al-Qaeda affiliated Abu Sayyaf militants are active, a former village chieftain and a driver of a town councilor were abducted by armed men on Sunday in the village of Musa, town of Maimbung, regional military commander Major Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.

The victims, Uloh Son and the driver Pando Mudjasan, were in the hands of militants identified as Junior Abunaki and brother Antonio.

Dolorfino said there is an ongoing operation to recover the victims.

Meanwhile in Lanao del Norte Province, police said a businessman and son of a former village officials were also kidnapped.

Hadji Yusof Lidangan, 60, was taken by unidentified men from his home on Saturday in the city of Iligan.

No group claimed responsible for the series of abduction but the Philippine military blamed members of the Abu Sayyaf behind the previous incidents.

Last week, the group kidnapped two workers of a U.S. funded road project in Sulu. They released they captives separately.

The 380-strong Abu Sayyaf group, founded in the early 1990s by Islamic extremists, is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in the South over the past decade.

Source: Xinhua
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