Unidentified gunmen on a Malaysian watercraft abducted two Church workers in the remote coastal town of Lantawan, Basilan on Thursday.
The authorities said that the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group was believed to have snatched Frederick Banot and Cherden Masong, around 7:30 p.m. in the village of Tairan.
Claretian missionary priest Eduardo Apungan said Banot and Masong have been working for the Claret Samal Foundation Inc. (CSFI).
CSFI is a Church-based organization dedicated to help Badjaos, an indigenous sea gypsy tribe in southern Philippines.
Apungan added that the two victims were in the CSFI staff house when they were seized.
Sr. Supt. Mario Dapillosa, Basilan provincial police director, said the gunmen stormed the staff house and began to drag the victims to the waiting watercraft.
“The crisis management committee is still meeting,” Apu-ngan said adding that local residents said that abductors are most likely members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group on the island.
Also Capt. Jefferson Somera, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines First Infantry Division, said that they already deployed the army’s 14th Special Forces Company to search for Banot and Mason.