PH security forces warned of kidnap threat
Sometime in August, a Philippine-based foreign security agency advised one of its multinational clients with operations in southern Philippines about a threat of abduction on Samal Island in Davao province.
The advisory was dated Aug. 22 and was submitted on the same day.
The foreign security agency regularly advises its clients on intelligence reports on various issues, including political, economic and security threats in areas where the clients are based.
The target area in the August advisory was specific, Samal Island. Exactly pinpointed was the resort and even its foreign manager.
Late Monday night, unidentified armed men abducted a Norwegian national, two Canadians and a Filipino woman at Holiday Oceanview Resort in Barangay (village) amudmod, Babak District, Samal Island.
The victims were identified as Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor.
Of the three foreigners, Sekkingstad is the operations officer of the resort where they were abducted.
The authorities, however, have yet to establish whether the advisory was related to the attack on Samal Island.
In the advisory, a subcommander of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, was named as the one who would lead the attack on Samal Island.
Sawadjaan is based in Sulu but also operates in areas in the Zamboanga Sibugay area, according to the advisory.
Sawadjaan is identified by another source from the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group as a member of the emerging armed group within the Abu Sayyaf called “Anak Ilo,” or orphans of Abu Sayyaf fighters and combatants of the Moro National Liberation Front based in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
“They are [Abu Sayyaf] members but they tend to become a separate force from within because they are all orphans of former commanders,” the source said.
The Abu Sayyaf was initially suspected as the group behind the Samal kidnappings, but the authorities had not confirmed its involvement in the attack on Samal Island.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.