Possible boat used in three foreigners abduction found PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 September 2015 14:22

Authorities are checking whether an outrigger boat found abandoned in the coast of  Sulu, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold, is the watercraft used by gunmen when they abducted three foreigners and a Filipina at a luxury resort in Samal island off Davao del Norte province last Monday.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the military’s joint task group Sulu, said in a statement Saturday the abandoned watercraft was found by police at the coast of Parang town, Sulu, some  300  nautical miles from Davao del Norte.

Arrojado said the outrigger boat was located around 11:10 a.m. Friday at the coast of  Silangkan village.

He quoted a police report as stating the watercraft is approximately 25 meters long and 2.5 meters wide with balancers or outriggers locally known as “katig.”

Arrojado said the watercraft is powered by two Fuso engines not outboard as reported earlier. It is yellow-orange in color with white and blue stripes.

“Elements of the Parang MPS (Municipal Police Station) are still at the area securing the craft while waiting for the water to rise (high  tide) in order to tow the sea craft,” Arrojado said.

“Accordingly, the sea craft bore some holes that caused seawater to leak inside,” he said.

However, he said there was no sighting or information as to the whereabouts of the hostages — Kjartan Sekkinstad, 56, a Norwegian and the resort manager of Holiday Ocean View, Canadian guests John Ridsel, 68, president of the Canadian TVI mining company and Robert Hall, 50. The Filipino woman identified only as a certain “Tess” is said to be Hall’s fiancée.

They were seized by unidentified gunmen around 11:30 p.m. Monday at the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort.

Sulu is one of two strongholds of the Al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf,  founded in 1991 by Saudi educated Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a gunbattle with police troopers in 1998 in Basilan province.

The militant group  — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.