Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnap midwife in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Abu Sayyaf gunmen have seized a government midwife in the island province of Sulu Wednesday afternoon, the military said.

Malacañang condemned Thursday the latest kidnapping blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked bandits blamed for the recent kidnapping of a couple in Sulu.

Police commander Felicisimo Khu says Evangeline Taverisma, who is married to a retired army soldier, was on her way home from work in a government clinic when she was snatched at gunpoint Wednesday.

The four attackers took her in a jeep from Indanan town in Sulu Province.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said the gunmen took Taverisma around 3 p.m. Wednesday in the village of Tagbak, Indanan, where she is assigned as midwife.

Cabangbang said the gunmen are followers of Abu Sayyaf leaders Nasir Timbang and a certain Commander Palu.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government doing its best to rescue Taverisma.

"We were assured that the AFP (Armed Forces of Philippines) is now coordinating with the Sulu PNP (Philippine National Police) as well as the local government unit for the rescue of this lady,” said Valte.

She said the military already has initial results regarding the investigation but she refused to divulge them owing to security reasons.

She added that the Palace is in constant communication with military spokesman Commodore Miguel Rodriguez.

Taverisma was seized three days after Jocelyn Batronel was released by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in downtown Jolo, the capital town of Sulu, after her husband paid P100,000 ransom.

The husband, Jose, 50, was released last July 16 but the Abu Sayyaf bandits kept his wife to force him to produce the P100,000 ransom.

The Batronel couple, who is into the businesses of foam, appliances and lending, was kidnapped last July 13 from their rented house in the village of Busbus, Jolo.

The government has expressed concerns over the series of abductions in Mindanao, especially after intense firefighting between the government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits last week that led to the death of seven soldiers and hurt 21 others.

"We have to admit that the last incident involving the seven soldiers. It did not spark alarm but it was more of the emotions that were evoked particularly in reference to the manner that they were treated," Valte said.

She stressed that the government will make sure that someone will be punished for the violence happening in the southern Philippines.

"The President has continually emphasized is that when it comes to matters like this one, kailangan po kasi nating maipakita that there will be certainty of punishment para ma-deter po. (We need to show that there will be certainty of punishment to act as deterrent)," she said.

Valte said the government would want to ensure that apart from the continuing law enforcement operations against the bandits, the culprits should also face justice.

Malacanang, meanwhile, is confident that there will be no spillover of the kidnapping incidents in Metro Manila. (Sunnex)

For more local stories, visit www.sunstar.com.ph

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