ZAMBOANGA CITY: Gunmen raided a tourist island in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines and seized 3 people before dawn on Monday, police said.
Police said at least 15 armed men swooped down on Aliguay Island near Dakak Resort in the historic city of Dapitan and took two unarmed Coast Guard personnel—Gringo Villaruz and Rodlyn Pagaling—and then seized the island’s chieftain Roberto Buligao and sped off on two motorboats.
Insp. Dahlan Samuddin, a regional police spokesman, said they have alerted police units in the province and that security forces were tracking down the abductors, who fled toward the southern part of Zamboanga del Norte.
He said the gunmen were all clad in camouflage uniform. “The incident transpired around 1.50 in the morning. Roberto Buligao, the village chairman, and two Coast Guard personnel were abducted by more or less 15 unidentified men wearing camouflage uniform, and with long firearms on two white motorized boats,” Samuddin told The Manila Times.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abduction. The island is just 45 minutes by boat from Dakak Resort and is a favorite destination of local and foreign tourists.
The abductions occurred a day after 4 gunmen also seized a finance officer of a mining firm in Tawi-Tawi’s Bongao town. The victim, Nonong Garcia, was abducted by masked gunmen from the Beachside Inn in Simandagit village, according to a report by GMA News.