Gunmen demand P60-M ransom for release of minor captives

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines Unidentified gunmen have demanded a P60-million ransom in exchange for the release of two minors they kidnapped in Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur two weeks ago, an official said yesterday.

Pitogo Mayor Richard Garban confirmed the ransom demand at a press conference at his office on Tuesday.

The minors, aged 17, 3 and 2, were at the fish port when they were snatched by the gunmen, who were fleeing from responding policemen after they failed to kidnap a bakeshop owner. The kidnappers used the children as human shields against pursuing policemen.

Two-year-old Zynille Jay Garban was fished out of the waters of Pitogo after two days.

The younger victims are nephews of a village chairman while the 17-year-old is the daughter of a laborer.

Garban appealed to the kidnappers to release the victims, saying their families could not afford to raise the ransom.

“The families of the victims are worried… the kidnappers have demanded a very huge amount… where are they going to get the money?” he said.

Garban said authorities have no leads on the whereabouts of the victims and the identity of their captors.

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