ZAMBOANGA, the Philippines, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Philippine security forces on Tuesday rescued a seven-year-old son of a local bank manager from the hands of armed kidnappers in the southern province of Basilan.
The province's Isabela City Mayor Cherry Akbar said that Alson Porticos, 7, son of Shiela Porticos, branch manager of the government's Development Bank of the Philippines, was rescued by Marines and policemen after a brief gunfight with two kidnappers in Sta. Clara, Lamitan town.
Akbar said the two kidnappers were wounded and captured, while the boy was unhurt.
Quoting investigators, Akbar said that Alson, his sister and their driver were aboard a car on their way home to Sunrise Village from school when two men riding on a motorcycle blocked their path and snatched the boy at gunpoint.
Porticos was at least the 14th being snatched by the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and affiliated gangs in Jolo, Basilan islands, and nearby Zamboanga city in the past month.
Six people, including a nine-year-old, a lending company employee, three teachers, and a Sri Lankan peace worker, remain in captive in the hinterlands of Basilan island, some 900 kilometers south of Manila.
The Abu Sayyaf is also holding three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross -- Swiss Andres Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina May Jean Lacaba on nearby Jolo island of Sulu province since their abduction on Jan. 15.