ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police have launched an operation to rescue three people seized in Zamboanga Sibugay late Friday by seven gunmen believed to have ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Zamboanga Sibugay police director, Senior Supt. Romulo Cleve Taboso, said Saturday his personnel are working with military forces to track down the gunmen.
“Nasa laot pa sila (They are still in the high seas),” Taboso told PNA.
The other troops are scouring the coastal areas.
Taboso identified the victims as Elmer Romoc, an employee of the municipal treasurer’s office of Payao; his wife, Nora; and, son, Ricson.
He said the gunmen took the victims from their residence in Barangay Kulisap in Payao at about 6:30 p.m. Friday.
The victims, he said, do not belong to a wealthy family since the husband is “only an employee and not the municipal treasurer” of Payao.
He said although the family owns a store in Barangay Kulisap, it is only a typical sari-sari store.
Based on intelligence report, the suspects belong to the Tahir Ustadz group that have ties with the Sulu-based ASG, Taboso said, adding that they belong to a new crime group that has emerged in the province.