Posted by: JWP | 12/19/2009

Troops surround kidnappers’ hideout in south Philippines

(AFP) – 23 hours ago

MANILA — Government security forces have surrounded a mountain hideout of suspected Islamic militants holding a college professor hostage in the southern Philippines, an official said on Saturday.

A negotiator has been ordered to try and talk the kidnappers into releasing Orlando Fajardo in a last ditch effort to peacefully solve the crisis, the official added.

“Our emissary is still up there and law enforcement forces are still surrounding the area where the kidnappers and the victim are,” said Al Rasheed Sakalahul, deputy governor of Basilan island province where Fajardo was seized.

Armed men believed to be members of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group barged into Fajardo’s home on December 10 and took him away. Fajardo is the vice president of Basilan State College and also a licensed engineer.

Sakalahul told ABS-CBN television the kidnappers had demanded an unspecified ransom and had initially given negotiators until Friday to pay up. The ultimatum was later lifted.

He said that if the emissary failed to convince the kidnappers to free Fajardo within the next two days “authorities will take over and adopt a resolution to allow enforcers to (carry out a) rescue.”

Fajardo’s kidnapping came just a day after Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded another Filipino kidnap victim they seized with two illegal Chinese workers from a plywood factory also in Basilan last month.

read more……

No martial law in Basilan, says DND chief @ Manila Bulletin

Surrender leaflets dropped in Basilan for jail escapees @ GMA

Jail guard assisted in Basilan jailbreakreport @

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