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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen abducted a public school teacher on Tuesday while one her way to work in the town of Patikul in the southern province of Sulu in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao, police said.

It said Edrina Manalas Bonsil, who teaches at the Tuup Elementary School, was travelling on a jeep when 5 gunmen flagged down the vehicle in Kanague village and forcibly dragged her out and taken by the gang.

No individual claimed responsibility for the abduction, but police said the Abu Sayyaf may be behind it.

There was no immediate statement from the Department of Education in the autonomous region, but the military said the operation against the Abu Sayyaf is continuing in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under Muslim region, where the jihadist group is still holding over a dozen foreign hostages kidnapped off Sabah.

Just last month, Abu Sayyaf militants also seized 3 people, including a pregnant woman, on a village in Patikul town. The victims Shariff Julhasan Abirin, Levi Gonzales and his pregnant wife Daniela Taruc, were onboard a multi-cab when gunmen flagged down the vehicle on the village of Timpook and seized them.

The gunmen threatened to behead Gonzales – who works as a technician for Globe Telecom – if their demand for P1 million ransoms is not paid by the company. His wife was only accompanying him when gunmen seized them. There was no immediate statement from the telecom giant, but it is unlikely to pay ransom to the Abu Sayyaf for Gonzales’ life.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered troops last week to intensify their anti-terrorism campaign, including operations against the Abu Sayyaf which is still holding more than a dozen mostly Asian hostages in the restive Muslim region. (Ely Dumaboc) 

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