World Bulletin / News Desk
Unidentified gunmen have seized two toddlers and a teenager, who turned out to be the grandchildren of a southern Philippine mayor, in a shootout with police.
Police spokesperson Inspector Dahlan Samuddin said in a police report Wednesday that the minors were kidnapped after around 10 suspects docked two motorboats at a fish port in Pitogo town, Zamboanga del Sur province, and failed an attempt to seize a businesswoman Tuesday.
According to Samuddin, suspects armed with high-powered firearms went to a bakeshop and tried to abduct its owner, Chzarenia Kapa Sajulga, but failed after “the businesswoman was able to run inside the room and locked herself."
The Pitogo police force responded to the incident, causing an exchange of fire during which the fleeing gunmen seized the three minors from the fish port to serve as human shields at around 5.30 p.m. (1230GMT).
Senior Supt. Sofronio Ecaldre, Zamboanga del Sur police director, said the gunmen escaped in the direction of neighboring Zamboanga Sibugay province with the hostages, who happened to be the grandchildren of Pitogo Mayor Richard Garban.
They have been identified as Zynielle Jay Garban, 2, Ace Jay Garban, 3, and Ledegie Tomarong, 17.
Ecaldre was cited by the Mindanews website as saying he had coordinated with the Zamboanga Sibugay police office to help find the children.
Kidnapping offers rich takings in the southern Philippines, where groups seize victims and turn them over to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, which keeps them hostage while the gang negotiates a ransom.
Any ransom is then shared by both groups.Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Nisan 2015, 17:22