Abu Sayyaf terrorists abducted five Zamboangueño construction workers and painters in Sulu shortly before a presidential visit today (Saturday, July 15).
Local police say that at about 1.30am, six armed men stormed the Kawpang Elementary School Sports Complex in Patikul town and abducted the men. Other reports put the number of militants as closer to 20.
The victims have been identified as Joel Adanza, Felimon Jung Guerrero, Edmundo Ramos, Jayson Ramos Vailosis and Jenly Miranda.
A sixth man, Larry Velasquez, was able to jump from a second-floor window and make his escape despite being shot in the leg.
He then notified local police about the incident.
Ruvina Richa, aunt of Edmundo Ramos and Jayson Ramos Vailosis, learned that the suspects were asking one million pesos for the lives each of the kidnapped men.
“We are just poor people. Where could we get that money?” she asked.
Richa said her two nephews, along with Felimon Guerrero, were all painters and they went to Sulu last January also to paint the sports complex.
The police said that the kidnappers, who were wearing camouflage uniforms, headed toward the mountain of Patikul.
The abduction happened just hours before President Duterte flew into the province to visit soldiers wounded in previous clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants.
During the visit he awarded medals to 13 soldiers at a military hospital in the capital town of Jolo. The soldiers were wounded in a clash in Patikul town on July 7.