Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bandits abduct Zamboanga town mayor

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur--Heavily-armed men abducted a town mayor who was having his dinner at a food outlet in Salug town, Zamboanga del Norte early evening on Monday (April 2), a military official said.

Brigadier General Rainier Cruz, the Commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division based here said that Salug mayor Jeffrey Lim was having his meals with some companions when a man in police uniform approached with a brown document folder at around 7:20pm.

Minutes later more armed men numbering around 10 followed and dragged the mayor towards  a yellow multicab.

The abductors fled towards a coast line village of Caracol, where they razed the vehicle before fleeing on board three motorized bancas.

Cruz said that he has deployed two battalions of his unit  (10th IB and 44th IB) to assist the local police in the massive rescue operations starting last night.

"Soldiers have started combing the coastlines to track down the bandits while two OV-10 bombers were dispatched to conduct 'persuasion flight' in the possible hiding places in the lush forests of Labason town where the bandits are believed to be hiding," he said.

Two MG-MD520 attack choppers and an UH-1H Huey chopper were dispatched to the area for possible troop insertions and recovery operations.

The Special Forces' Condor, a military speedboat have been deployed along the coastlines of SSS (Siocon, Sibuco, Sirawai) complex to assist in the pursuit operations.

The local government of Salug has convened a Crisis Management Committee this morning, led by its Vice Mayor, Hon. Elias Baguio.

In his statement, Baguio said that Lim has no known enemies even in politics.

"He is a first-term mayor who run unopposed during the last elections so politics as a motive is a remote possibility," he said.

Cpt Albert Caber, the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Chief, said that the local officials are considering the possibility of putting up a monetary reward to those who can pinpoint the location of the kidnap victim.

Colonel Jet Velarmino, the Commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade has immediately coordinated with the local government officials and the police for the joint operations that are mounted to hunt down the perpetrators of the crime.

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