Abu Sayyaf bandits abducted six civilians, including two minors, in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu Tuesday night.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said at least 15 armed bandits attacked the village and held six civilians at gun point.
Sobejana identified the abducted civilians as Jessy Trinidad, 55, Nene Trinidad, 56, Aloh Trinidad, 22, and Lucy Hapole, 21. The bandits also snatched one 13-year-old and a 7-year old.
The military and local police dispatched a quick response team in the area and conducted hot pursuit operations in a bid to safely rescue those seized.
"This incident again demonstrates that the notorious kidnappers in Sulu are victimizing anybody including their fellow Tausugs, even those who have less in life. Such hostility reminds us that security is everybody's responsibility," Sobejana said.
Sobejana encouraged Suluanos to take pro-active measures to thwart similar attacks.
With this development, the number of hostages being held by Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu has risen to 22, seven of whom are foreigners.
On Friday, government forces rescued three abducted Vietnamese citizens off Tawi-Tawi.
However, one of their companions was found dead by local authorities in Languyan town.