March 31, 2014

School principal in Libog, Sumisip, Basilan allegedly abducted by the Abu Sayyaf

In the morning of March 31 (Monday), a public school teacher/principal was abducted at gunpoint by suspected members of the dreaded group Abu Sayyaf in a town in Basilan. The abductee has been identified as Benita Enriquez Latonio, the principal of Manggal Elementary School in the town of Sumisip in Basilan. This information was divulged by Basilan school district superintendent Dr. Norhaya Abdurahim. Latonio is 60 years old.

Police investigators disclosed that the victim together with several other teachers were aboard a passenger jeepney when they were flagged and blocked by five suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf. The jeepney was bound for Isabela City. Wearing bonnets, the armed men quickly took Latonio then fled on foot. This happened at around 6:30 in the morning at sitio Mompol, barangay Libug in Sumisip town.

The other teachers who were with Latonio in the jeep were left unharmed. After the incident when the authorities arrived there, the teachers were escorted back to the town of Sumisip.

Police and military forces have been alerted and these have launched a pursuit operation to rescue the abducted school principal. The abductors are believed to be under the command of Juhaibel Alamsurul also known as Abu Kik.

This isn't the first time that the armed group has forcibly taken public teachers. They kidnapped Alrashid Jahang just this month in Sulu. The group eventually released Jahang a day after taking him.

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