Kidnappers demand P1M for Lanao village chief, says military
KOLAMBUGAN, Lanao del Norte – The kidnappers of the head of a village here are demanding payment of P1 million for his release, a military official said Saturday.
Col. Demmy Tejares , commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, told the Inquirer by phone that the authorities had already identified the group that snatched Rogelio Narciso, 61, on Wednesday.
He said the group was led by Wali Pelaez, a Maranaw, who has been accused of such other crimes as robbery and cattle rustling in the province.
Narciso was abducted in the village of Palao, which he heads, by at least 10 armed men identified as members of the notorious Tundra group. He was on his way home when he was abducted.
“The armed group brought Narciso to the hinterlands of Munai, also in Lanao del Norte, and have allegedly demanded P1 million,” Tejares said, without specifying who provided him the information.
Mayor Lorenzo Manegos of Kolambugan said there were people trying to obtain Narciso’s release and they included a prominent member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
But Manegos said nobody had told him about the ransom demand.
“I haven’t received any information on that matter but I can confirm that there are efforts now to secure the victim from his kidnappers,” Manegos said.
While negotiations were being held for Narciso’s freedom, the military said it was conducting operations aimed at pressuring the kidnappers into releasing the victim.
Tejares said the military was coordinating with the MILF’s ceasefire group in Lanao del Norte – headed by Abas Salung – for the operation, which involved the police and other Army units.
He said the military could not just deploy troops into Munai, where the victim was thought to have been taken, because the area was considered part of MILF territory.
Meanwhile, Manegos said he was worried about the health of Narciso and has sent him medicines through the vice mayor of Munai town.
“The old man is hypertensive,” he said.
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