ZAMBOANGA CITY – Gunmen have seized two teachers working for a Catholic charity foundation in Basilan, officials said on Thursday.
The gunmen raided the staff house of the Charity Children Foundation in the village of Tairan in Lantawan town late on Wednesday and abducted Frederick Banot and Cherden Masong.
Members of the Special Forces, who were alerted by the abductions, pursued the raiders, but did not catch up with them.
“The victims were forcibly taken by the gunmen and dragged them to waiting speedboats and fled under cover of darkness,” Capt. Jefferson Somera, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, told The Manila Times.
Brig. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, a regional army commander, has ordered troops to track down the hostages and their captors and to help police authorities in providing or securing charitable workers in the province.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abductions, but Abu Sayyaf rebels and bandits operate in the province and have been previously blamed for kidnappings for ransom and killings.
The foundation helps in various development programs for ethnic Badjao and Yakan tribes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).