Gunmen Raid Zamboanga Village

January 21, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 21, 2008) – Unidentified gunmen raided a remote village in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines before sunrise Monday and briefly held hostage several villagers, police and military said.

Police said the armed men split into several groups and barged into houses. One group herded the men and another ransacked houses, mostly owned by farmers.

It was unknown whether the gunmen took hostages or not, but government soldiers were sent to the area to pursue them.

“There was an attempt to kidnap people in the area. We have soldiers pursuing the gunmen,” Army Major General Nehemias Pajarito, commander of the First Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Pajarito said he ordered the Task Force Zamboanga to track down the gunmen. “We have alerted our forces in the area about the incident,” he said.

A policeman assigned in the area said the raid occurred just before sunrise. “They raided the village and herded everyone, every male villagers and ransacked several houses before fleeing on foot,” he said.

No group claimed responsibility for the raid, but the area is a known lair of bandits and rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The Abu Sayyaf is also operating in the outskirts near the province of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay.

On Saturday, security forces captured an Abu Sayyaf militant, Aramil Sulayman, tagged as one those who participated in the beheading of soldiers in Basilan province in July last year.

The 29-year old militant was captured in a raid at an Abu Sayyaf hideout in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Shariff Kabunsuan province. Sulayman is listed in the military’s wanted list and has a P500,000 bounty on his head.

Ten marines were killed and beheaded in the town of Al-Barka after a firefight with militants. Authorities initially blamed the killing to the MILF, but the rebel group which is currently negotiating peace with Manila, denied it decapitated the slain soldiers and said the Abu Sayyaf was behind the gruesome murder. (With a report from Sammy Tanjil)

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