ZAMBOANGA CITY – Abu Sayyaf militants abducted a town official in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the troubled Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the southern Philippines, police said Thursday.
Police said Ezzeddin Soud Tan, a municipal councillor of Jolo, was seized on Wednesday evening in the village of Timbangan in the neighboring town of Indanan. Tan was heading home when gunmen on a red jeep intercepted him.
The abductors sped off toward Talipao town and that police have launched a search for the official. It was unknown how the gunmen managed to sneak into the town without being detected by the police and military in many checkpoints in the province.
Security officials and the mayor of Indanan did not release any statement on the latest abduction. Military and police commanders have previously said that the Abu Sayyaf was now on the run following a series of offensives against the notorious group, blamed by authorities for the spate of ransom kidnappings and terrorism.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under acting Secretary Catalino Cuy stripped of their police powers 132 mayors in Sulu and other provinces in the restive region for their alleged failure to help authorities or suppressed “terrorist acts” perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf.
But Cuy did not sack police commanders for failing to stop Abu Sayyaf atrocities. Police and military commanders are responsible in running after the Abu Sayyaf and not local government officials. Cuy’s unitary action was met with strong protests from government officials in the Muslim autonomous region.
The supervision by local chief executives over the police was suspended by Cuy in July “for their failure to impose measures to suppress terroristic acts and prevent lawless violence in their territories, which is inimical to national security and poses serious threat to the lives and security of their constituents.” AL JACINTO