WORLD NEWS

Philippines: No ransom demand yet for 2 Europeans

Feb 3, 2012, 1:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Police said Friday that local thugs, not al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, were likely to have abducted two European tourists this week in the southern Philippines.

Police Director Felicisimo Khu said the kidnappers had not contacted authorities or made any ransom demand.

Ewold Horn of the Netherlands, Lorenzo Vinciguerra of Switzerland and their Filipino guide, Ivan Sarenas, were abducted Wednesday during a bird-watching trip to Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province. They were the latest kidnap victims in an impoverished region infested with al-Qaida-linked militants and criminal gangs that often seek ransom for their foreign hostages.

Sarenas escaped hours later by jumping off their captors’ boat after he saw some fishermen, who rescued him.

Khu said he doubts the gunmen were Abu Sayyaf members because there is no known Abu Sayyaf presence in the province. But Tawi-Tawi is home to rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace pact with the government in 1996.

“There are no indications that they are Abu Sayyaf,” Khu said in a telephone interview, adding that the abductors were likely local thugs.

He said the kidnappers freed unharmed an unarmed policeman, a town councilor and a boat skipper who were accompanying the bird watchers, and did not shoot Sarenas when he jumped out of the boat to make his escape _ uncharacteristic of the brutal Abu Sayyaf militants, who are notorious for kidnappings and beheadings.

The abductors also appeared to be have bungled in failing to take Vinciguerra’s bag, which contained more than $1,000 worth of foreign currencies, and Sarenas’ bag, which had expensive cameras.

Police recovered the belongings from the motorized outrigger from which the victims were seized.

Sarenas said the victims were transferred to another boat, then a third boat. He said he escaped when he realized the boat was speeding toward Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

But Khu said that the boat was small and that there was no extra fuel on board for the 12-hour trip to Jolo.

Police said the kidnappers landed in Tawi-Tawi’s Languyan township and burned their boat in a bid to hide its owner.

Sarenas said he, Horn and Vinciguerra arrived in Tawi-Tawi on Sunday in search of the Sulu hornbill, said to be the most endangered hornbill in the world.

Tawi-Tawi is famed for virgin beaches surrounded by crystal blue waters. But like most areas in the restive southern Philippines, it is undeveloped because of years of violence, including ransom kidnappings, bomb attacks and fighting between troops and Muslim rebels.

After spending three days in a mountain forest, the three were heading back to the provincial capital of Bongao by boat Wednesday when five rifle-toting gunmen on another boat fired warning shots and intercepted them, Sarenas said.

Muslim insurgents have been fighting for minority self-rule in the predominantly Christian nation’s south, and the Abu Sayyaf is the most violent group. The militants have been holding an Australian man abducted in December, as well as a Japanese and a Malaysian.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who reportedly died in prison on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Alexei Navalny, galvanizing opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, died in prison, Russia says

Alexei Navalny, the fiercest foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died Friday while incarcerated, the country's prison agency said.

9 days ago

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic in central London, Monday, Jan...

Associated Press

Britain’s King Charles III has cancer and is receiving treatment

Britain's King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and has begun treatment, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

20 days ago

A resident flees an encroaching forest fire in Vina del Mar, Chile, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Officia...

Associated Press

At least 46 reported dead in Chile as forest fires move into densely populated central areas

Intense forest fires burning around a densely populated area of central Chile have caused at least 46 deaths, Chile's pesident said Saturday.

22 days ago

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload including two lunar rovers from Japan and the United Arab ...

Associated Press

Unmanned Japanese spacecraft successfully makes soft landing on moon

Japan became the fifth country in history to reach the moon when one of its unmanned spacecrafts successfully landed on the lunar surface.

1 month ago

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

3 months ago

Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. (...

Associated Press

Israeli airstrikes crush apartments in Gaza refugee camp, as ground troops battle Hamas militants

A flurry of Israeli airstrikes Tuesday on a refugee camp near Gaza City leveled apartment buildings, leaving craters where they once stood.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Philippines: No ransom demand yet for 2 Europeans