Gunmen Kidnap Tourists from Southern Philippine Resort
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Gunmen kidnapped four people from a tourist resort in the Philippines Monday night, military officials confirmed via the New York Times.
Two Canadians, a Norwegian and a local Filipino woman were abducted from the Holiday Oceanview resort on Samal Island near the southern coast of Mindanao shortly before midnight. The gunmen fled the scene by boat with the hostages.
Citing the Associated Press, the BBC reported army spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber said that a naval blockade was being organized around the island in an effort to prevent the attackers from escaping.
Philippine authorities identified the Canadian tourists as John Ridsel and Robert Hall. The missing Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad, is the manager of the Holiday Oceanview resort.
The missing woman is said to be the partner of one of the visiting Canadian men.
Authorities have yet to identify the perpetrators, but did say that the hostages were more than likely targeted rather than being kidnapped at random. "There are many lawless elements in Mindanao, but it's not clear which group is involved," Caber told the Times, which reported the attackers comprised a group of 11 men who disguised themselves as tourists. Some of the men were armed with pistols.
Two Japanese tourists who attempted to intervene during the abduction were not harmed.
Despite elevated crime rates in areas of the southern Philippines, Caber said the area where the resort is located is considered relatively safe.
"The majority of kidnappings in the Philippines are committed by criminal organizations and not by terrorist or insurgent groups," Pacific Strategies and Assessments Philippines director Matt Williams told the Times. "It is a cash-and-carry business in the Philippines."
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