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Japanese man abducted in southern Philippines

Japanese man abducted in southern Philippines

Gunmen abducted a Japanese convert to Islam who ran a medical clinic in the southern Philippines, but it was not known if al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants were involved, a military commander said Saturday.
A navy ship and Philippine troops were deployed to the remote island in hopes of preventing the victim's transfer to the militants' stronghold, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said. Abu Sayyaf, notorious for kidnappings and beheadings, has received funds from al-Qaida.
Amer Mamaito Katayama was reportedly snatched by at least 10 gunmen on Pangutaran and moved to another nearby island, according to Dolorfino, who is the military's chief commander in the area.
"Our effort is to prevent them from taking him to the mainland," he said, referring to Jolo _ the biggest island in the Sulu province archipelago and a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, about 590 miles (950 kilometers) south of Manila.
Lt. Stephanie Cacho, a military spokeswoman, said Pangutaran is not a known area of operation of the Abu Sayyaf, but she said there could be some militants there.
Katayama lived for some time on the main southern Philippine island of Mindanao before moving to Pangutaran in 2004, Dolorfino said. There, he apparently ran a clinic and was also reportedly involved in treasure hunting, the commander said.
He said Katayama is 63 years old and had converted to Islam, adopting the name Amer.
Japanese Embassy official Kenji Endo said he could not confirm the nationality of the abducted man.


Updated : 2021-07-25 02:01 GMT+08:00