Woman abducted in Zamboanga

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ZAMBOANGA CITY : Unidentified gunmen seized a woman in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines and authorities were tracking down the assailants who fled on a motorized boat with their victim.

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Capt. Franco Suelto, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said at least 9 gunmen were involved in the abduction of Michelle Panes in the village of Labuan.

Her husband, Noel Panes, said he was able to escape the abduction, but failed to free his woman who was dragged to the shore where the boat had been waiting. He said three of the abductors were clad in military uniform.

Suelto said the abduction occurred at around. 7.30 p.m. at the old public market in Labuan.

“We still do not know who were behind this [abduction], but authorities are now tracking down the abductors,” he said.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction, but previous kidnappings in the area were largely blamed to the Abu Sayyaf group.

In November 2012, suspected Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped school principal, Flordeliza Ongchua in her house in Labuan village and released her two months later in Jolo town after ransom was paid.

Ongchua was seized by at least a dozen gunmen after failing to find their target, the village chieftain, Ronald Maravilla, who is a relative of the victim.

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