Philippines fail to solve kidnapping mystery

Military says investigators baffled, hostage-takers still not made contact over last week's kidnapping of three foreigners in Philippines south

Philippines fail to solve kidnapping mystery

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines military said Tuesday that it remains unconvinced that the Abu Sayyaf is behind the Sept. 21 kidnapping of three foreigners in the country's south.

Spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla told radio station DzBB that reports claiming the al Qaeda-linked group had snatched the two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina at a beach resort are still speculative.

"They say it is Abu Sayyaf, but evidence gathered by soldiers and police has not indicated that the militant group has done this, so we still cannot say it's conclusive," Padilla said.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao -- the closest city to where the kidnapping occurred -- had claimed to have received intelligence reports indicating the Abu Sayyaf had taken the four to Jolo island in Sulu, where other kidnap victims are also believed to be held captive.

Sulu -- along with Basilan, one of the militant group's two strongholds in the southern Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao -- is an autonomous archipelago province in the Philippines south.

Duterte had also said that the kidnappers are allied with the Abu Sayyaf, but Padilla believes that the kidnapping style used differs from the group's.

"We wonder why there is no confirmation [Abu Sayyaf] contacted them or engaged in negotiation," Padilla said.

He said kidnappers would usually make initial contact with their captives' families immediately after the abduction.

"We have requested that Mayor Duterte link us up with the origin of his information to verify it."

Local police had initially stated they suspected the kidnappers could be members of the New People's Army -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines -- or a local bandit group called the Bangsamoro Army, a mixture of breakaway members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

In recent days, however, all speculation has involved the Abu Sayyaf.

A source from the Sulu police told GMA News on Monday that it had received an army report saying that the hostages had been spotted in the town of Indanan on Jolo island.

GMA News also quoted another anonymous report as saying that the hostages had been seen with some 300 armed men and prominent leaders of the Abu Sayyaf.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions 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.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Eylül 2015, 13:53