Kidnappers seize 3 foreigners in Samal island off Davao City PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 11:18

Three foreigners and a Filipina have been abducted by gunmen late Monday from a tourist resort in Samal island off Davao City.

Army spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber told Daily Zamboanga Times that the victims — two Canadian identified as John Ridsel and Robert Hall, Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Norwegian and a Filipina named Tess  were snatched from the Holida Oceanview resort in Samal island, a popular destination of foreign and local holiday makers visiting Davao City.

Caber said the unidentified abductors dragged the four victims to a boat that sailed away from the resort towards unknown direction.

The abduction was apparently planned, Caber said.

Supt. Lito Impas of the Samal island police was quoted by GMA News as saying  at least 20 armed men wearing balaclavas and black shirts stormed the resort before 11 p.m.

GMA News reporter Raul Tolibas said  the gunmen went door to door and snatched all of the occupants of the cottages.

Tolibas quoted Impas as saying the gunmen initially grabbed five people, but a Canadian named Steven and his Japanese wife, Kazuka, managed to jump from the gunmen’s boat. The couple were taken to a district hospital on the island.

Impas said they have requested a copy of the CCTV surveillance camera footage of the resort to help them in the investigation..

Impas said the kidnappers could be members of the New People’s Army or a local bandit group called BAMA or Bangsamoro Army, a mix of breakaway members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Tolibas said the kidnappers wrote the message: “Alay namin sa aming kumander” around the resort, before leaving with their captives.

Capt. Caber said naval operations were launched to locate the kidnappers and their victims.

The local Philippine Coast Guard unit and the local police are also conducting pursuit operations.

In 2001, the al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf attempted but failed to abduct tourists from Samal Island’s Pearl Farm. Three employees died when they engaged the Abu Sayyaf men in a firefight.

Also in 2001, Abu Sayyaf gunmen seized local and foreign tourists at the posh Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province, including US missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham.

Returning to Basilan, the militants took local hostages along the way, even escaping a military dragnet in Lamitan City in June that same year.

The Dos Palmas hostage-taking drama ended June 2002 when security forces stormed the militants’ hideout in Sibuco town, Zamboanga del Norte province. At the time, three remained as hostages — the Burnham couple and Filipino nurse Ediborah Yap.

Martin and Ediborah, however, were caught in the crossfire. Gracia survived, but sustained a gunshot wound to her leg.