Kidnapping Gangs In Southern Philippines
There are reports that Merlie Mendoza has been released after being kidnapped in the southern Philippines several months ago. She had been working as a relief worker near Isabela City. The MILF say they were paid close to P 1 million for her release but neither the government nor family members will say why she was released. The Philippine government officials only say that we don’t pay ransoms as it will just encourage more kidnappings.
However, it has been said that over P50 Million has been paid this year alone. The exact number is unknown as much of he time there are no official reports to the press. In many cases, ransom is not reported to the press at all.
More alarming is that 33 people have been kidnapped so far this year. Often, groups of people are kidnapped, which pushes the number up. in the case of this young aid worker, five others were abducted but they managed to escape.
The groups are not targeting the rich but middle class. They then use the cell phone of the abductees to communicate directly with the family of their victims. Often they demand a down payment with threats to harm their abductee if they fail to send cash.
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