Sayyaf kid­naps sol­dier

The Philippine Star - - NATION - By ROEL PAREÑO – With Lino de la Cruz, Ric Obe­den­cio/Free­man News Ser­vice

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Sus­pected Abu Sayyaf ban­dits kid­napped a sol­dier in Patikul, Sulu on Thurs­day.

Staff Sgt. Anni Si­raji of the Army’s 32nd In­fantry Bat­tal­ion was trav­el­ing to Barangay Igasan when he was seized at around 9:30 a.m.

“It is frus­trat­ing that a Tausug sol­dier who wants a peace­ful com­mu­nity and is work­ing for it re­ally hard… will be a vic­tim of the ban­dits... The Abu Sayyaf can vic­tim­ize even some­one from their own tribe,” said Lt. Gen. Car­l­ito Galvez Jr., Western Min­danao Com­mand chief. “We will not stop un­til we get our sol­dier back.”

Brig. Gen. Ciril­ito Sobe­jana, Joint Task Force Sulu com­man­der, said op­er­a­tions to res­cue Si­raji are on­go­ing.

The kid­nap­ping came while govern­ment forces have yet to re­cover 27 other cap­tives, in­clud­ing 20 for­eign­ers.

Sobe­jana said re­lent­less pur­suit op­er­a­tions for the ban­dits would con­tinue.

Mean­while, the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front (MILF) and Moro National Lib­er­a­tion Front (MNLF) said they would not ex­tend as­sis­tance to Abu Sayyaf “strag­glers” be­lieved to be still hid­ing in Si­tio Ilaya in Barangay Napo, In­a­banga, Bo­hol after a botched siege.

Bo­hol pro­vin­cial board mem­ber Ricky Masamayor said Moro com­man­ders as­sured him dur­ing his visit to Libak, Sul­tan Ku­darat that they would not in­ter­vene in mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions to ar­rest the ban­dits.

Masamayor noted that many Abu Sayyaf ban­dits are for­mer MILF and MNLF mem­bers.

He said one of the ban­dits, whom he did not iden­tify, was a class­mate of his fa­ther.

A report of the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and De­tec­tion Group-Bo­hol said Joselito Mel­lo­ria, who re­port­edly hosted the ban­dits at his home in Bo­hol, was sighted in Barangay Cawayan in In­a­banga at the house of a cer­tain Noel Niño.

Mel­lo­ria mar­ried a Mus­lim woman whose fa­ther is al­legedly one of the lead­ers of the Abu Sayyaf.

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