COTABATO, Philippines (Xinhua) – Three suspected kidnappers holding a Chinese-Filipino woman were killed as they clashed with security forces this morning in Maguindanao province, an Army official said.
Soldiers clashed with an undetermined number of armed men — led by Tong Abbas of the Pentagon kidnapping-for-ransom gang, the group holding Leonarda Tan Kian and helper Bernardo Isidro — in the vicinity of Taviran village, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, Army 603rd Brigade Commander Colonel Ernesto Aradanas told reporters.
Abbas and two others were killed in the clash, Aradanas said. The official, however, did not say how the encounter will affect the conditions of the two hostages.
"They withdrew later after troops reinforcement arrive. We are not certain if the captives are with them," Aradanas said.
Kian and Isidro were on her way home on board a public vehicle when five armed men snatched her away last Sunday, only hours after a Chinese national was freed by his captors in the nearby North Cotabato province.