Trader’s son still in BIFF hands
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2013 - 12:00am

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines  â€“ A businessman’s 19-year-old son, snatched by suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) bandits in Midsayap town Saturday night, has not been rescued, contrary to reports, authorities said yesterday.

The family of Mark Anthony Baya, whose father is a retired soldier, has not received any message or ransom demand yet from the kidnappers, an indication that his kidnappers are still on the run, according to Midsayap police chief Superintendent Reynante delos Santos.

“There is no truth to reports by certain media entities that the victim had been rescued. What we have recovered was the getaway vehicle of the kidnappers, not the victim,” Delos Santos told reporters.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Midsayap and surrounding towns, denied that Baya had been rescued as reported earlier.

Local officials expressed belief that Baya’s kidnap was a diversionary tactic by the BIFF to help its members, who have been pursued since Saturday morning by soldiers in North Cotabato’s adjoining Aleosan and Pikit towns.

Soldiers have killed four bandits, initially identified as Sanday, Dimasangkay, Kused and Zainal, and wounded seven others in an encounter with BIFF forces that tried to get near the Cotabato-Davao Highway that connects Aleosan and Pikit.

Four gunmen barged into the store owned by Baya’s parents, dragged him to a gray Mitsubishi Lancer car, and took him to a river in another village where a motorized watercraft was waiting.

Responding policemen and soldiers found the abandoned getaway car of the kidnappers, which barangay officials immediately turned over to the municipal police office.

Witnesses said they overheard the kidnappers talking about turning Baya over to another group of BIFF bandits who were waiting at the border of Midsayap and Datu Piang in Maguindanao.

Army and police sources have identified the group of BIFF commander Eskak as behind Baya’s kidnap.

Police investigators, on the other hand, said the group that snatched Baya was composed of eight BIFF bandits, six of them identified as Akas, Bhuto, Dapz, Theng, Bedu and Apon, all ethnic Maguindanaoans from the towns of Northern Kabuntalan and Datu Piang.

Intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified, said Eskak, alias King Size, is allegedly a henchman of Ustadz Karialan, the interim leader of the BIFF.

Karialan was earlier reported to have assumed the leadership of the brigand group due to the deteriorating health of its founder, Saudi-trained cleric Ameril Ombra Kato, who suffered a stroke last year.

 

ALEOSAN AND PIKIT AMERIL OMBRA KATO BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BAYA BEDU AND APON BIFF COTABATO-DAVAO HIGHWAY DELOS SANTOS DICKSON HERMOSO MIDSAYAP
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