ZAMBOANGA CITY: Unidentified gunmen abducted a couple shortly after the arriving by boat at dawn Sunday in Sulu province, police said.
Police said Bonifacio Salinas, 54, and his wife, Claire, just returned home from Zamboanga City and were about to enter their house in Patikul town when gunmen seized them.
“We are investigating the motive of the abduction and who were behind it,” Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita, the provincial police chief, told The Manila Times.
He said the couple, who both work at the Jolo Mainland Water District, were seized in the village of Kasalamatan by five gunmen who dragged them to a waiting jeepney.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction, but previous kidnappings in the province have been largely blamed on the Abu Sayyaf Group.
In December, police in Sulu arrested Abu Sayyaf member Haik Asgali alias Abu Aswad who was implicated in the February 2012 kidnapping in Tawi-Tawi province of two European wildlife photographers Ewold Horn, 52, from Holland, and Lorenzo Vinciguerre, 47, from Switzerland.
Asgali, who was captured in Jolo town, is a nephew of Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron.
The two foreigners, along with their Filipino guide Ivan Sarenas, 35, were abducted at gunpoint by five men in the coastal village of Parangan in Panglima Sugala town while taking photographs of wild birds. Sarenas managed to escape, but the fate of the two foreigners is unknown.
The Abu Sayyaf also kidnapped the provincial treasurer of Sulu, Jess Cabilin, in Patikul town in November. He was released unharmed following a negotiation launched by his family.
Authorities identified Cabelin’s kidnappers as Ninok Sappari and Julli Ikit who were also implicated in the March 2012 kidnapping of Indian Viju Kolara Veetil and other Filipinos in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.