LAST_UPDATESat, 23 Jun 2018 10am

Abu Sayyaf Bandits Kidnap Engineer In Jolo, Southern Philippnes

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Philippines) -- An engineer was kidnapped on Wednesday by the Abu Sayyaf militant group while on his way to work in Jolo, the capital of Sulu, according to local officials.

The victim was identified as Enrico Nee of the Department of Public Works and Highway,  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, based in Jolo, southern Philippines, reported China's Xinhua news agency.

Commander of  Sulu Joint Task Force, Brig Gen Cirilito Sobejana said Nee was seized by gunmen in a black and red jeep at about 7.45 am local time in a village near his house.

Nee was waiting for a tricycle cab ride when one of the gunmen alighted from their vehicle and at gunpoint dragged him towards their vehicle, said police.

The gunmen forced Nee into their vehicle and fled towards Patikul town, a place known to have a strong presence of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Sobejana said troops and police were immediately alerted and went in pursuit but found no trace of Nee. This case brings the number of kidnap victims to 10.

The victims include one Dutch, one Vietnamese, three Indonesians and five Filipinos.

Police have launched an operation to rescue Nee and the other hostages held by  Abu Sayyaf.

Formed in the 1990s, Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnappings and demanding ransom and known for bombings and brutality, especially beheadings.

Several foreign kidnap victims including two Vietnamese, a German and a Canadian, were beheaded last year after their families failed to pay ransom amounting to millions of dollars.