By: Jaime Sinapit,

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) seized another teacher Wednesday afternoon in Sitio Baunoh, Barangay Liang, Patikul, Sulu, the sixth kidnap victim in three days.

Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, Civil Military Officer of the 2nd Marine Brigade, said Alrashud Jahang was abducted about 4 p.m. by 10 Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Aljini Mundoc alias Ninok Sapari.

Jahang, a teacher of the Taglibi Elementary School, “was riding a motorcycle going to Jolo town from Barangay Taglibi when flagged down by the group of Ninok and forcibly taken. The Marines and police immediately launched hot pursuit operations,” Lacuesta said.

Last Tuesday, Hadji Mutamad, Basulan Vice Mayor Arsina Nanoh was kidnapped by still unidentified suspects in Zamboanga City. The 20-year-old local chief executive remained missing.

The Police Regional Office 9 (PRO9) said Nanoh’s husband, Alnajil, reported to the Police Station 11 the abduction of his wife. Per his account, at around 12:15 p.m. he and his wife together with some friends went to Mindpro Mall on La Purisima Street to go shopping. At around 12:57 p.m., the group went out of the mall and boarded their private vehicle.

When they reached the exit gate of Mindpro Mall parking lot, the vice mayor told her husband that her friend had called her and asked her to proceed to Mindpro Mall. She then alighted from their vehicle and told her husband to just wait for her call to pick her up. When Alnajil reached their storage room at Tres Marias RT Lim Boulevard, he received a text message from somebody using his wife’s mobile phone that they had abducted her, PRO9 spokesman Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca said.

“According to Alnajil, the alleged abductors told him that they were waiting for their boss as they would just inform him what they wanted. Alnajil went back to Mindpro Mall to locate his wife but to no avail and this prompted him to report the said incident to the authorities,” he added.

Huesca said the Nanoh couple are engaged in the buy-and-sell of gold jewelries as their family business.

In an earlier case, on March 3 two children, their driver and maid were seized by five armed men believed to be Abu bandits on Scott Road in Barangay Alat, Jolo on March 3.

The incident happened around 7 a.m. while the victims were on their way to school.

The victims were identified as Mohammad Zaher Naim, 10, his cousin Raiza Karanain, 8, their 18-year-old maid Almalyn Abuhail, and family driver Saddam Amlih.

The victims were riding a family vehicle when flagged down by five armed men and forcibly taken at gunpoint on a Tamaraw jeep. The jeep sped towards the direction of Barangay Anuling in Patikul town, Lacuesta said.

On February 19, six armed men kidnapped a businesswoman from her home and escaped on board a van in Barangay Mercedez, Zamboanga City.

The victim, 28-year-old cosmetics dealer Sabrina Ikbala Voon, was seized at gunpoint from her residence on Pohoc Drive and loaded to a waiting van with plate GPH-581 at around 9 p.m.

Follow-up operations by soldiers and policemen recovered the gateway vehicle at Sitio Duncaan, Gapuh, Barangay Talabaan, also in the city.

On Feb. 16, six armed men believed to be Abu bandits kidnapped the couple Bonifacio and Claire Salinas in Barangay San Raymundo, Jolo.

The victims, working with the Jolo Water District, arrived at 4:30 a.m. from Zamboanga City via M/V Danica Joy vessel. They hired a tricycle going to their residence on 10th Street when seized by at least six unidentified armed men at past 5:30 a.m.

The kidnappers with their two victims sped towards Barangay Anuling in Patikul town.

On January 27, eight heavily armed men believed to be Abu bandits took a couple — both school supervisors — on their way home on board their white Toyota Fortuner at Barangay Diplo, Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur.

Rudy and Tessie Luna of the Kumalarang Central Elementary School were stopped at gunpoint. “The armed men commandeered their vehicle and brought them to Sitio Dacun, Barangay Picanan. Our pursuing troops composed of policemen and soldiers recovered in said place the abandoned vehicle of the victims.”

Fortunately, he said, Tessie escaped from the kidnappers.

Earlier abductions

On December 18, 2013, teacher Cathy Casipong, 23, was abducted by a group of armed men in Sitio Paraitan, Barangay Limaong, Zamboanga City. She remains captive up to this time.

On January 23, 2009, Freires Quizon, Janette de los Reyes, and Rafael Mayonado, all teachers of the Landang Gua Elementary School in Zamboanga City, were kidnapped by armed men in Siacol Island. The kidnappers released them on May 27, 2009 after their families paid for “board and lodging”.

On March 13, 2009, a group of armed men kidnapped Noemi Mandi, Jocelyn Inion and Jocelyn Enriquez, all teachers of Bangkaw-bangkaw Elementary School in Zamboanga Sibugay. They were released by the Abu Sayyaf on September 23, 2009 after their families paid “board and lodging.”

On October 19, 2009, the ASG abducted Gabriel Canizares, principal of the Kanague Elementary School in Sulu. His decapitated head was found in an isolated lot in Jolo town on November 9, 2009 after his family failed to pay ransom.

Last Feb. 20, Filipino-Algerian sisters Nadjoua Abdel Bansil and Linda Bansil escaped from their captors and were recovered by government forces at around 5 p.m. in Sitio Kantatang, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.

The Bansil sisters who are filmmakers spent eight months in captivity. Abu bandits abducted them on June 22, 2013 in Sitio Baunoh, Barangay Bangkal, Liang, Patikul by the group of Ninok and Ben Saudi.

The bandits demanded P50-million ransom for their safe release.

The sisters were in Sulu to shoot an Indie film entitled “Coffee Armalite” which they were supposed to use as entry for the Cinemalaya Film Festival.

On December 20, government forces recovered in Talipao, Sulu a Taiwanese woman abducted on November 15, 2013 by unidentified armed men in Sabah, Malaysia.

Evelyn Chang was rescued by responding soldiers and policemen at around 3:55 p.m. in the vicinity of Sitio Karija Anil, Barangay Liban.

Chang was reported abducted at Pulao in Pulong-Pulong, Sampurna by a group of armed men and then escaped toward Sulu.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said last Dec. 5 that at least 17 kidnap victims including foreigners were still being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan.

He revealed this after the release of Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani of Pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel based in Dubai.

Police said Atyani was found at around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2013, walking alone along the road in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu.

In June 2011, Atyani and two Filipino buddies went missing after leaving their hotel rooms in Jolo. Later they were reported to have been kidnapped by the bandits.

In February this year, Atyani’s Filipino buddies were recovered safe and unharmed after they escaped from their guards during skirmishes between soldiers and bandits.

Gazmin then said he and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Manuel Roxas III were planning to convene Sulu’s council to deal with kidnap-for-ransom cases especially high-profile cases involving local and foreign personalities.

He said a new strategy is necessary to curb kidnapping in the south.

“We will just have to craft some operation that will be able to address the deficiency of the current operation against them (bandits),” Gazmin said, without giving further details.