Two Canadian tourists, a Norwegian resort manager and a local Filipino woman were kidnapped by gunmen near Davao City on Mindanao Island, a popular resort island in the southern Philippines.
The Canadian male victims have been identified as John Ridsdel and Robert Hall and the Norwegian resort manager is Kjartan Sekkingstad. The identity of the kidnapped Filipino woman hasn’t yet been revealed but it is thought that she is the partner of one of the kidnapped Canadian men and that the four were targeted together rather than at random.
The unidentified gunmen raided the Samal Island, near Davao City late on Monday night at about 11.40pm and kidnapped the four at gunpoint, taking them hostage and making away with them by boat.
There were two Japanese tourists that supposedly tried to intervene, but they weren’t successful and the gunmen managed to escape.
Philippines army Captain Alberto Caber said that “Four people were taken but we do not know what group was behind the attack. He said there were about “30 foreign tourists at the resort at the time of the raid. It appeared the foreigners were the targets and that they were not taken at random”.
Mindanao Island has experienced a lot of kidnappings and violence in the past few years. There has been conflict between government troops and rebel groups, including Muslim extremists that are thought to be connected to the Islamic State extremists raging war in the Middle East. Monday’s kidnapping is the first in the region since 2012, when a Swiss national, Lorenzo Vinciguerra, and Ewold Horn, from the Netherlands, were abducted off the coast of Mindanao Island. Mr. Vinciguerra who was being held by Abu Sayyaf rebels managed to flee his kidnappers in December 2014 during clashes between rebels and troops but Mr. Horn is still being held.
Every effort is being made by the police and army in the Philippines to track down the gunmen and locate the whereabouts of the hostages. Navy ships have been deployed to try and intercept the gunmen’s boat and there is now a heavy police presence on the islands surrounding Mindanao Island in an attempt to intercept the boat’s potential landing site. Efforts are also being made to locate other foreign hostages being held in remote camps by Abu Sayyaf and other rebel groups.