Nograles seeks immediate resolution to hostage incident in Agusan del Sur

December 10, 2009 11:19 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Dec. 10 — Speaker Prospero Nograles on Thursday sought for the "immediate" but "peaceful" resolution of the hostage incident in a town in Agusan del Sur province.

"I really hope and pray for the immediate but peaceful resolution of this hostage incident involving 57 schoolchildren in Agusan del Sur Province," said Nograles.

"Our local government authorities and security forces should exhaust all means to guarantee the safety of the hostages," he said.

Around 125 elementary pupils, teachers and other civilians were held hostage by at least 15 fully-armed members of a robbery hold up group in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur province on Thursday morning. <About 50 of them have escaped their captors while 18 were released unharmed late afternoon, police said.

Senior Supt. Nestor Fajura, operations chief of the Police Regional Office-13 (PRO-13), said the incident happened at about 8 a.m. while the teachers and the students were on their way to school.

About 15 fully-armed members of the Ondo Perez Group forcibly took the 125 civilians to Sitio Maitum in Barangay San Martin.

Fajura said the PRO-13 immediately dispatched teams from the elite Special Action Force (SAF) and the Provincial Mobile Group to conduct pursuit operations against the group.

The group, which is involved into robbery holdup activities, initially demanded battery for flashlights, cigarettes, stoppage of police and military operations against them, dropping of criminal charges slapped on them, the presence of media and the arrest of Jun Tubay, the leader of their rival group.

Fajura said members of the Perez group were charged with multiple murder for the slaying of members of the Tubay family earlier this year.

He said a crisis management committee was subsequently activated, headed by Agusan del Sur Gov. Tina Plaza to address the issue.

At least 18 of the 75 held captives by the Perez robbery group were released unharmed, police authorities said. (PNA)

/LGI

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