Gunmen abduct 2 kids, 2 others

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Monday, March 3, 2014

MANILA -- Gunmen abducted two children, their nanny and a driver while on the way to school Monday in a restive southern town of Jolo, Sulu, military officials said.

The driver and nanny were taking a 10-year-old and his eight-year-old cousin to school when about five men with M16 rifles on board a jeep bumped their van and dragged the four away in downtown Jolo, Marine Captain Ryan Lacuesta said.

The abductions alarmed school officials and parents in the province, Lacuesta said, adding that Abu Sayyaf bandits and small kidnap gangs were among the suspects.

"This is really condemnable because they targeted this time innocent children, who may not be able to withstand such a situation and the trauma," Lacuesta said.

Marines and police were deployed to Sulu's coastal Patikul town, where the Abu Sayyaf has a number of jungle encampments, in an effort to track down the abductors and their captives, according to a police report.

Abu Sayyaf bandits still hold several captives in their jungle camps in Sulu's mountainous hinterlands, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped two years ago. Sulu lies about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila.

The Abu Sayyaf, which is on a US list of terrorist groups, is one of at least three armed Islamic groups outside of a peace deal the government expects to sign soon with the main insurgent group in the south, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (AP/Sunnex)

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