Arroyo ‘angered’ by kidnappings in south
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is “angered” by the wave of kidnappings by Islamic extremists and Moro rebels in the south, and has ordered security forces to “contain and neutralize the perpetrators at all cost,” Malacañang said Wednesday.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita cited military data which showed that since January this year, 56 people were kidnapped in 26 incidents in the south. Of the 56, 36 were released through negotiations or were rescued, nine were killed, while 11 remained captives.
He also noted that P45.92 million in ransom has been paid to the captors, who have been identified as members of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“Angered over latest reports over a rise in kidnap for ransom in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and in some parts of Zamboanga, President today ordered the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the PNP [Philippine National Police] to launch more vigorous and broader pursuit operations against kidnappers in the area,” Ermita said.
“The President is determined to put a stop to these incidents and contain and neutralize the perpetrators at all cost,” he said.
The data on the kidnappings was presented to Arroyo during a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) cluster of the Cabinet at the Palace on Tuesday, he said.
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