Troops rescue 2 fishermen from Basilan kidnappers

July 16, 2009 9:23 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 16 – Policemen backed by Philippine Marine troops have rescued two fishermen from the hands of kidnappers in the island province of Basilan, south of this city, a police official said Thursday.

Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO)-west chief Director Felizardo Serapio said the victims were rescued following a firefight around 5:35 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Semut in the town of Akbar.

Serapio identified the rescued fishermen as Ronnie Nabie, 25, of Sto. Niño District, Pagadian City and Reynante Saquien, 30, of Tukuran town in Zamboanga del Sur.

Nabie and Saquen were on fishing venture near Sibago Island, Tuburan, Basilan when the kidnappers seized them last April 4.

Serapio disclosed they launched the rescue operation following a report that the victims were only being guarded by at least three members of the kidnap group.

Serapio said a gun battle ensued when the policemen swooped down on the kidnappers’ lair.

He said the other members of the group hiding a few hundred meters away from where the captives were kept reinforced their comrades that prompted them to seek the assistance of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 (MBLT-7).

He said they managed to take possession of the hostages as the kidnappers fled upon sensing the arrival of the MBLT-7 troops.

No one among the rescue team members was killed or injured, according to Serapio.

Serapio said the kidnappers led by a certain Commander Uzi belonged to a group that has ties with Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Usman Lidjal.

The two rescued fishermen were taken to the Camp Navarro General Hospital at the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) headquarters.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has ordered the continuous search for three missing fishermen from Barangay Mampang, nine kilometers east of this city.

The fishermen identified as Jesus Alfonso, Edgar Barrera, and July Gapol went to Barangay Landang Laum in Sacol Island, 54 kilometers east of this city last July 6 and have not returned since then. (PNA) LAP/Teofilo P. Garcia/rsm

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