KIDNAPPED BUSINESSMAN IN LANAO RESCUED;  2 FOLLOWERS OF ABU LEADER SLAIN

ZAMBOANGA, February 3, 2004 (STAR) (AFP) - Security forces have rescued a businessman following a gun battle with his abductors in the Lanao region of the southern Philippines, the military said Tuesday.

Unknown gunmen kidnapped Rolando Uy, a petrol station operator, and an employee when they hijacked their truck near the town of Bacolod on Sunday, said military spokesman Liutenant Colonel Renoir Pascua.

Witnesses tipped off the military who gave chase and caught up with the kidnappers several hours later who were forced to abandon their captives after a gunfight near Kauswagan town. No casualties were reported.

"Government forces rescued Uy and his driver after a 15-minute clash with kidnappers. They are okay and have been reunited with their families," Pascua told reporters.

Muslim separatist guerrillas and ex-rebels who have turned to banditry operate around Lake Lanao on the main southern island of Mindanao

Two followers of Commander Robot slain By Roel Pareño The Philippine Star 02/03/2004

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Two of the close followers of detained Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang, alias Commander Robot, were killed in an encounter in downtown Jolo, Sulu, military officials said yesterday.

Col. Alexander Yapching, chief of the 104th Army Brigade based in Jolo, said the two henchmen of Andang were killed during the raid conducted by his intelligence unit on Saturday night along Scott Road in Jolo.

Names of the slain Abu Sayyaf members were not immediately made available.

But Yapching said they were Andang’s driver and bodyguard, who have been under surveillance for months now.

The two were believed to be responsible for the execution of Abduka Amil, who was suspected by the Aby Sayyaf as military spy.

Yapching did not say if there are still other followers of Andang who have slipped in the town proper.

However, he assured that the military is tracking down the remnants of Andang.

"We got their leader. Now, the only thing they can do is to surrender peacefully without any condition," Yapching warned.

Military intelligence reports indicated that many of Andang’s followers slipped in Jolo reportedly to conduct terrorist activities to avenge the capture of their leader.

Andang who was wounded and captured last month in Indanan town is presently detained in Camp Aguinaldo with one of his legs amputated.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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