Philippines army 'closing in' on girl's kidnappers

The military in the Philippines say they are closing in on rebels who have kidnapped six-year-old Eiman Grant.

The military in the Philippines say they are closing in on rebels who have kidnapped six-year-old Eiman Grant.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines believe the girl is being held in a heavily- forested area in Parang, Tubaran, in the Basilan province where she was snatched.

An Islamic militant group is thought to be behind the kidnap although the military refused to rule out the possibility that it had been organised by the girl's mother, Mina, to extort money from her British stepfather.

Mrs Grant, 43, made an emotional appeal on a local radio station on Saturday for her daughter's return, the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported.

In a message to the little girl, she said: "I know that you will say, 'Mommy, I'll be a good girl, Mommy please take me home now'.

"Don't be sad. Eat your food. I miss you very much. You should eat so you can stay healthy. You ask them the kidnappers anything you want. Don't hesitate".

Mrs Grant said an armed gang tricked their way into her home earlier this week. They demanded 100,000 pesos (£1,300) and when she could not produce it they snatched Eiman and ordered her family to come up with the cash.

The kidnappers are thought to be linked to a Muslim separatist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or the Abu Sayyaf.

Eiman's stepfather, Douglas Grant, dismissed suggestions that his wife had organised the kidnap as "total garbage".

Speaking from his home in Inverness, the 50-year-old hospitality manager said the military had failed to take action since the kidnapping on Wednesday and were now trying to divert attention from it.

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