• President Aquino assures gov’t forces won’t stop tracking down Samal Island kidnappers


    President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday assured that the government security forces will not stop in tracking down the group of armed men who abducted three foreigners and a Filipina in a resort in Samal Island, Daval del Norte on Monday night.


    “Rest assured that our security sector will not stop in tracking down these people,” President Aquino said in a media interview during a visit in Apayao province.


    The President said all the concerned government agencies will review its security protocol to prevent the kidnapping incident from happening again in the future.


    “Based on our initial report, it seems this is a new group. Of course, we have to account our intelligence services. Why this group escapes the intelligence radar. What is the purpose of this kidnapping,” the President said.


    On Monday night, the armed men kidnapped three foreigners identified as John Ridsel and Robert Hall of Canada and resort operations manager Kjartan Sekkingstad of Norway as well as Hall’s Filipino girlfriend identified as Tess in Samal Island.


    According to the news reports, the kidnappers initially took six people but a Canadian, identified as Steven and his Japanese wife, Kazuka, were able to jump from the kidnappers’ boat. The couple is now confined in a hospital.


    President Aquino said he got information that the last time there was report of kidnapping attempt in the tourist-haven Samal Island was between 2000 and 2001 perpetrated by the group of Kumander Global.


    ”We kept on following up specially on the previous kidnapping incidents and can I just remind everybody that we have recovered good number of kidnap victims even with the Abu Sayyaf. We have not stopped our operations against ASG that has a given a lot the opportunity for a lot for them to escape,” the President said.


    The President cited the most recent escape of two kidnapped Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel operative SN2 Gringo Villaruz and SN2 Rod Pagaling who escaped from their ASG captors during the skirmishes on Aug. 20 in Sulu.


    ”My confidence is high that our military and police have not stopped in pursuing the lawless elements,” the President said. PNA


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