Four Of Kidnaping Gang Killed
Philippine security forces killed at least four members of a kidnap-for-ransom gang during a gunbattle on a remote south-western island yesterday, a Marine general said. Brigadier-General Ben Dolorfino, deputy commander of military forces in the southern Philippines, said a police officer was also killed in the gunbattle in Indanan town on Jolo island, near where soldiers were hunting Muslim militants. The soldiers were trying to rescue a woman who had been kept for nearly a month along with her son.The woman, who had been stabbed, was rescued but later died. Her son’s headless body was found earlier yesterday, prompting the rescue attempt for the mother, Dolorfino told reporters. The mother and son had owned a bakery and a pawnshop in the main town on Jolo island. Dolorfino said the trader and her son were taken at gunpoint outside their home last month. A 10m pesos ($195,000) was demanded for their freedom, but was lowered to 6m pesos this month. Since the late 1960s, the Philippines has been fighting communist guerrillas and four Muslim rebel groups, including the small Abu Sayyaf which has been involved in kidnapping, bombings and extortion.