Latest Stories

Sisters spent night in Abu stronghold


ABDUCTED Bansil sisters in this photo sent by their brother, Medmessiah

ZAMBOANGA CITY—A day before they were abducted in Patikul town, Sulu, the Bansil sisters spent the night in Mount Sinumaan, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group.

Senior Insp. Conrad Gutierrez, police chief of Patikul, told the Inquirer that independent filmmakers Nadjoua and Linda Bansil, along with 19 other local residents, left Jolo town  on June 20 for Barangay (village) Danag in Patikul.

“Then they stayed overnight in Sinumaan,” Gutierrez said, adding that the barangay is a known lair of the bandit group.

“In fact, security forces don’t go there without ample security,” he said.

On their way back to Jolo on Saturday, the Bansils were abducted in the village of Liang, also in Patikul.

Although other people were with them, Gutierrez said “only the Bansil sisters were taken” by suspected Abu Sayyaf members.

He said the sisters stayed in the house of Sultan Mauzidin Bantilan in Jolo. “They were doing some kind of a documentary report about the sultanate of Sulu,” he said.

Gutierrez said the police had talked to Sultan Bantilan, who had asked the local government, the police and military “to maintain distance first while they are trying to negotiate for the safe release of the two women.”

“But so far, … [Bantilan is] still on the stage of trying to determine the location of the captors,” he added.

When news about the abduction happened, Len Manriquez of the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network called Nadjoua’s mobile phone. A certain Yasir Rajim of the Sulu Sultanate Darul Islam answered and said he was Nadjoua’s contact in Sulu.

Manriquez said Rajim narrated the events leading to the kidnapping:

“On Thursday, they arrived in Jolo and were hosted by the Sulu Sultanate Darul Islam. On Friday morning they went to Sinumaan, stayed overnight in the area to take some shots of the sunrise. On Saturday, they started to take off to Jolo, at about

10 a.m., they were kidnapped in Liang, Patikul. They were on board a jeepney and the road was blocked by armed men.”

Manriquez said Rajim claimed they were not able to stop the kidnappers who were armed.

“He also said they insisted to be taken as well, but the kidnappers only wanted to take the two ladies,” he said.

It was not, however, clear why Nadjoua’s mobile phone was with Rajim.

As far as the sultanate of Sulu under the leadership of Kiram is concerned, Mauzidin Bantilan is nonexistent.

Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson of the sultanate, told the Inquirer by phone in Manila that Mauzidin Bantilan “is one of the names of the sultans way back 17th century.”

“Bantilan means caretaker or officer in charge. Right now we don’t have a caretaker,” he said.

Idjirani said he had no idea if the Sulu Sultanate Darul Islam really exists in Sulu.

Octavio Dinampo, a professor of  Western Mindanao University and himself a former kidnap victim, said the name Mauzidin Bantilan might have been used by the kidnappers to confuse the authorities.

Mauzidin Bantilan is a title used by one of the adopted claimants which is known in the community as a distant relative of the Kirams, he said.

Dinampo said the Bansil sisters might have been abducted by members of the “Lucky 9,” a group of “Abu Sayyaf orphans and drug addicts.”

“That certain Rajim could be behind the abduction. But what we gathered is that they (kidnappers) were really members of the Lucky 9,” he said.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao told reporters here that local government units must be made accountable for any crime, particularly kidnapping or abduction, that happens in their localities.

But Hataman said a regionwide security conference involving various state forces under the military’s Western Mindanao Command must be held.

“Mapping will also be undertaken during the participatory security conference to determine which towns or municipalities the kidnappings transpire, which towns or provinces captives are brought or kept while negotiations are made,” he said.

“Barangay officials should also be held accountable. They know the place and the people, so we will look into this matter to prevent this kind of incident from happening in the future,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: abu sayyaf , Kidnapping , News , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • How other faiths observe Holy Week
  • No noise, partying in Boracay on Good Friday
  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Marketplace