Hostage killed as soldiers clash with kidnappers in Zambo del Norte
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A kidnap victim was killed when soldiers under the 42nd Infantry Battalion clashed with the armed group holding him and four other hostages in Zamboanga del Norte on Wednesday.
Senior Supt. Raul Tacaca, chief of the Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office, said 37-year old Mario Rosales, also known as Mario Ungok, died in the clash that took place in Barangay Panabutan in Sirawai town.
Rosales’s body was recovered in the aftermath of the clash and was positively identified by his employer, according to Tacaca.
The fate of the four other victims – Jojo Mantangan, 33; Roger Jongan, 37; Reymon Furesima, 14; and Jemar Maglangit, 29 – remained unclear.
The five hostages, all residents of Barangay San Vicente, also in Sirawai, were initially reported as missing when they failed to come home on March 3 from conducting chainsaw logging in the hinterlands of Panabutan.
On Monday, it was confirmed they were being held by a group headed by Jamilon Wahab and Bating Lumaguis when the armed men phoned an associate of the victims and demanded P10 million.
The demand was eventually reduced to P15,000 for each of the five kidnap victims.