2 Men Seized In Southern Philippines

December 13, 2007 at 5:35 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 13, 2007) – Unidentified gunmen seized two people on Thursday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said.

Officials said the two were driving a jeep in the town of Patikul when gunmen flagged down the vehicle and seized them. The gunmen also took the jeep.

The identities of the two men were not immediately known, but Brig. Gen. Ruperto Pabustan, commander of army Special Forces in Sulu, said the victims are workers of Mayor Munib Estino, of Panglima Estino town.

The motive of the abduction is still unknown, but Estino is an influential politician in Sulu. It was unclear whether the abduction was connected to a feud or not or has anything to do with special elections on Saturday.

“We still do not know the motive of the abduction or who was behind it. Our soldiers are tracking down the perpetrators,” Pabustan told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said a homemade bomb also exploded before dawn Thursday in front of the house of lawyer Vidzfar Julie, regional deputy elections chief, in Indanan town. The attack had killed no one, he said.

Julie was not in the province at the time of the attack.

The bombing came just two days ahead of special village and youth elections in Sulu and seven other provinces in Mindanao. No group or individual claimed responsibility for the bombing, but authorities suspect the blast had something to do with the polls.

The blast was the second in recent week in the province. A bomb was also detonated December 9 in front of the office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Sulu’s Patikul town.

Julie, a former poll supervisor in Sulu, is now the chief of the COMELEC in the Muslim autonomous region.

Elections in May failed in some towns in Sulu because of the presence of gunmen and many teachers tapped as poll officers did not report for work due to threats to their lives.

Others refused to work because of non-payments of their salaries since early this year by the Department of Education in the autonomous region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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