ZAMBOANGA CITY - A two-year-old girl abducted from their home in Arena Blanco, Zamboanga City was rescued by the Zamboanga City Police in Patikul, Sulu last June 28.
The girl was rescued in a shanty in the far-flung village of Anuling, a known lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
According to Superintendent Nonito Asdai, chief of Police station 7 in Zamboanga City, they were able to arrest three suspects: Danny Patta, 28; Muktadir Mohammad, 41; and Haron Sahirun, 52, all natives of Sulu.
Asdai said the suspects were arrested during an entrapment operation in the port area of Jolo.
The suspects demanded P20,000 from the victim's parents in exchange for her safe release.
But one of the suspects directed the child's mother to proceed to the village of Anuling where the transaction should take place instead.
Police followed the tricycle carrying the child's mother until they tracked down Patta with his two companions along the road.
The suspects were forced to reveal the location of the child. Asdai said they found the child in a small house, crying inside a dark room.
The child was taken to Jolo municipal police station and then back to Zamboanga City on Friday night.
Patta explained that they are not members of a kidnap-for-ransom group, or the Abu Sayyaf Group. He said he took the child due to the parents' unpaid debt amounting to more than P60,000.
Patta said the parents of the child failed to pay their debt despite repeated promises. He thought of forcing the child's parents to pay their debt by abducting their daughter.
A case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention was filed against the suspects.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Luisito Magnaye, Zamboanga City Police Director, said they are looking into the possibility that the three suspects are somehow connected to the Abu Sayyaf Group, citing initial information that these persons have been long living in the area known as bailiwick of the bandits in Patikul.