Task force formed to handle abduction of Japanese in S. Philippines

10:07, July 17, 2010      

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Philippine security forces formed a task force Friday to handle and secure the release of a Japanese national abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf group in the restive south of the Southeastern Asian country.

The Japanese man, Amer Katayama Mamaito, engaged in treasure hunting, was forcibly taken by 10 armed men in the village of Bangkilay in Pangutaran Island of Sulu province, said regional military commander Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino.

"The victim has been living in the province for five years. We are checking the information but the police told us the victim was abducted," Dolorfino told a local radio station.

A task force was created to handle the case of foreign captive, Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, regional commander of the police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said.

Latag said they will also activate the crisis management committee to monitor the latest kidnapping incident.

No one group claimed responsibility for the abduction but Abu Sayyaf militants are active in the province.

Security forces still have no other details about the latest abduction of the foreign national on the island province. Troops were dispatched to the area to locate the victim as well as gather more information.

In January last year, three international aid workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were kidnapped after inspecting a water and sanitation project at a jail in Sulu.

Eugenio Vagni, the Italian worker of the International Committee Red Cross, and colleagues Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Mary Jean Lacaba of the Philippines, were released by their Abu Sayyaf captors separately.

The 380-strong Abu Sayyaf group, founded in the early 1990s by Islamic extremists, is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in southern Philippines over the past decade. The group was blacklisted by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.



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