Gunmen kidnap 2 women in Zamboanga
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2013 - 2:31pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - A barangay chairwoman and fishing firm owner were abducted separately by heavily armed men late Thursday night in Zamboanga Peninsula, according to security officials.

Security officials identified the victims as Cecilia Alas-as, chairwoman of Barangay Paniran, Sibuco town, Zamboanga del Norte and Cynthia Caboverde, 50, owner of a fishing company and resident of Barangay Magdaop, Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Senior Inspector Darwin Asaali, Sibuco chief of police said Alas-as was forcibly taken by 3 heavily armed gunmen about 10 p.m. from her residence in Barangay Paniran, a coastal village of Sibuco town.

Asaali said gunmen wearing bonnets barged into the house of Alas-as and seized her at gunpoint. The kidnappers escaped with Alas-as on board a pumpboat.

He said the gunmen have yet to contact the victim's family to demand a ransom payment for her release.

Col Ignacio Obligacion, chief of the Philippine Army's 102nd Infantry Brigade, said that Caboverde was snatched around midnight by eight heavily armed men from her home in Sitio Palid, Barangay Magdaop in Ipil town.

Obligacion said that the gunmen forcibly took the businesswoman and escaped on two pumpboats.

Pursuit operations were immediately launched by the Army unit in hope of recovering the victim from the gunmen.

Based on police records, the latest abductions brought the number of captives in Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu province to nine.

The Abu Sayyaf group is still holding European nationals Elwold Horn and Lorenzo Vinceguerre; Filipino sisters and indie film makers Nadjoua and Linda Bansil; telecommunication technician Dennis Aloba and his escort Nasri Abubakar; and provincial treasurer Jess Cabelin.

The seven victims are believed to be somewhere in Sulu.

ABU SAYYAF BARANGAY MAGDAOP BARANGAY PANIRAN CECILIA ALAS COL IGNACIO OBLIGACION DENNIS ALOBA ELWOLD HORN AND LORENZO VINCEGUERRE INFANTRY BRIGADE JESS CABELIN NADJOUA AND LINDA BANSIL SIBUCO
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