Monday, Sep 1st 2014 -A six-year-old British girl has been kidnapped at gunpoint by Muslim extremists in the Philippines who are believed to be seeking a ransom, the Philippines military said.
April Grant, the daughter of Philippines national Nina Rasul Grant and a Briton Frank Grant, was snatched from her home in Lamitan town on Basilan island, which is 550 miles south of the capital, Manila, at about 9.30pm local time yesterday.
The area is a notorious trouble spot for kidnappings by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) - the group police believe snatched the little girl. MILF is fighting to create a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines.
Mrs Grant has said the men demanded 100,000 pesos - £1,300 - from her but she only had 1,000 pesos (£13), so the men grabbed April, told Mrs Grant to raise the money, and fled down the Bubawan River. Both mother and daughter had planned to join Mr Grant in Scotland.
The Philippines National Police and armed forces, along with trained negotiators were immediately despatched to the area. Sergeant Bong Ragasa of the Philippines armed forces said: 'It is believed to be a kidnapping for ransom but the hostage-takers have not made any demands yet.
'The girl was taken from her residence by four unidentified men who entered the premises. They left, taking the girl with them, in two motorised boats.
'The MILF is a Muslim group that has carried out a lot of terrorist action in the area. It is a very poor area far from the city.'
Mrs Grant pleaded for her daughter's life on a local radio broadcast. 'Please don't hurt her,' she told local radio station DXRC. 'Please, I beg you to free my daughter.'
The kidnappers had threatened to kill April if she told police or troops that her daughter had been snatched, she said. Mrs Grant said she phoned her husband immediately after April's abduction. The Foreign Office in London said officials were investigating.
Last April, the MILF splinter group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 21 Western holidaymakers and Asian workers from a Malaysian dive resort and took them to the Philippine island of Jolo, near Tawi Tawi.
The same group later kidnapped several other people, including foreign journalists. All but two of the captives, American Jeffrey Schilling and Filipino dive resort worker Roland Ullah, were freed by the rebels, reportedly in exchange for huge ransoms.