Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kidnap for Ransom,First Quarter of 2011,Part VI:Fatima Angni,Nadja Saldivar and Maria Elda Senedo

A subject that doesn't receive much discussion here in the Philippines is the practice of"Bride Capture."Once upon a time most cultures the world over practiced the kidnapping of fertile women on one level or another.In many societies today the practice lives on in the undertaking of certain marriage rites.For example,a groom and his friends will go to his fiancee's home and demand that the parents produce his intended.It is a form of role playing that depicts this once pervasive practice.

Today the actual practice has fallen by the wayside in most parts of the world.Not so in Mindanao.Most non-Muslim Filipinos are completely unaware but former President Marcos granted Filipino Muslims the right to live by a parallel set of Civil Laws based upon Islamic Law,or Sha'ria (though the wiley manipulator that he was Marcos avoided implementing this parallel system during his rule and so it fell upon his successor,Corazon"Cory"Aquino,mother of our present President,to fully implement this other system of judgement).For example,non-Muslim Filipinas may not marry until age 18 even though in Metro Manila and Cebu City teenaged pregnancies are all too common.If a Filipina is Muslim though,she can literally marry at ANY age.More to the point,the Philippines is but 1 of 2 nations in the world today that doesn't permit divorce (actually,there is a loophole but I won't get into that here).Muslims can divorce very simply and do so as many times as they please.They are also permitted to practice polygamy,etc,etc.

One practice NOT covered under this parallel code though is the aforementioned practice of"Bride Capture."Amongst the Tausug Tribe it is said that up to 60% of all marriages are effected by what essentially amounts to kidnapping.It is usually not disclosed by the AFP or PNP (Armed Forced of the Philippines and Philippine National Police) but any young female kidnapped by either the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) or MILF/BIAF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front/Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces) will probably be raped and thereafter considered her rapist's wife.Indeed,in one recent Zamboanga City KFR case in which a young nurse was kidnapped by the BIAF 113 Base Command,people were shocked that upon her release that this religious Catholic girl had begun calling herself by a Muslim name and wearing a hijab (woman's head scarve).It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what had taken place.Probably the best example was 1 of the nurses kidnapped during the "Siege of Lamitan"when ASG,in trying to outrun the authorities after kidnapping a large group from the Dos Palmas Resort in Puerto Princessa on the island of Palawan landed back on their home island of Basilan.Much to their discomfort ASG was tracked as soon as they landed owing to their having kidnapped three Americans along with their large group of Filipino captives.Under extreme pressure ASG then took an entire hospital (Dr.Jose Torres Memorial Hospital) hostage.

After conniving with local politicians who in turn connived with local AFP brass the ASG was allowed to"escape"out of a convenient hole in the back wall of the compound and calmly walk into the jungle with several more hostages.Three of the hostages,young nurses,were soon"married"to their captors.One such nurse was given the honour of being raped by then ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani.During the next few months,as they ran hand in hand through the disease ridden jungle trying to stay one step ahead of their pursuers,this young lady became pregnant.As her pregnancy progressed she was slowing down the group and so Janjalani"released"her.In her mind it had only been because he wanted to ensure that she got proper pre-natal care,despite his three other"wives"never getting an ounce it.Until he was shot to death she never once spoke ill of her"husband".

Not all women"fall in love"with their rapists.Case in point...

On January 20th,2011 eleven year old Fatima Angni of Iligan City in Lanao del Norte Province was allowed to stay home from school and help her elder sister in her newly bought cafe.Leaving her home in Barangay Camgue she was brought to the small restaurant in the town of Pantar's Barangay Kalangnan in that same province of.The cafe,sitting on National Hiway did a brisk lunch business and her sister Rasmia Angni could use all the help she could get.

Shortly before 11AM three family members:

1) Camil Esmail,age 20

2) Macoy Panguntara,age 35

3) Junior Panda,age 21

all of Barangay Bualan in the municipality of Balindong in Lanao del Sur Province entered the cafe and began talking to young Fatima.As Rasmia's unnamed husband watched in stunned disbelief Camil put his hand over Fatima's mouth and began dragging her backwards through the front door as his two companions pulled pistols and held the customers and staff at bay.As Fatima was dragged outside,her terror filled eyes pleading for help,she was tossed into an idling green Toyota Tamaraw FX which then sped out of the carpark and onto National Hiway.

Shocked as he might have been her brother-in-law gathered his wits about him and directly contacted the AFP's 43IB (Infantry Brigade).The 43IB wasted no time and contacted the 64IB and Pantar MPO (Municipal Police Office) who all quickly deployed checkpoints all along National Hiway in between the cafe and the provincial capitol of the adjacent province,Lanao del Sur,the municipality of Marawi City.It was a checkpoint in that very same barangay,Kalanganan that the 64IB intercepted the SUV and took the men into custody,rescuing young Fatima before she could be forcibly married to her 21 year old cousin Camil.Taken immediately to the 103rd Brigade Headquarters at Camp Ranao in Marawi City for a short obligatory debriefing she was soon released to another elder sister,Norhaya Solaiman from Iligan City's Barangay Mahayahay.

As the sun went down Saturday night,January 15th,2011 sisters Maria Elda Senedo,46,and Nadja Saldivar,51 were relieved to be heading home.The sisters,both widows,jointly run a commercial printing press in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte Province.As their SUV navigated the crowded city streets both women were looking ahead to a day off to putter around the home they both share in the city's Barangay Palao.Suddenly three gunmen stepped out into the middle of the street,blocking their path.Before either woman could gather her thoughts about her the men were upon them,smashing open the driver's side window and opening the door.Terrified,Maria automatically handed them the week's cash receipts totalling well over P300,000 (US6,800),a fortune in any part of the Philippines.Far from satisfied the men laughed in their face as they roughly pushed the women aside and got in beside them.Quickly the SUV sped away and out of Iligan City.

Crossing into Lanao del Sur Province the gunmen took the women to the municipality of Balindong.There,over the course of 4 days the women were subjected to repeated interrogations concerning both their business and personal finances.Finally,with no way in which to generate a ransom without actually releasing one of the women it was decided on Tuesday,January 18th to release Ms.Saldivar.At 2PM the elder sister was bundled into another SUV and driven to the town of Ramain in that same province of Lanao del Sur with instructions to produce a ransom of P1.2 Million (US26,000) within 24 hours if she hoped to ever see her sister again.By 530PM she had dropped off the money at a mall carpark in Iligan City and then retired to her home to await word of what she hoped would be her younger sister's imminent release.At 6PM that evening Maria was turned over to a well respected Maranaw (Maranaon) Tribal elder named Agakhan Sarip who in turn escorted the shaken but relieved woman to the AFP in the town of Baloi in Lanao del Norte Province.After the requisite debriefing a happy Mrs.Senedo was reunited with her elder sister,Mrs.Saldivar.

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