22 September 2015 four people were abducted from a resort on a southern Philippine island by unidentified gunmen, among them the resort’s marina manager Kjartan Sekkingstad. According to Regional Military spokesman Captain Alberto Caber the gunmen appeared to have specifically tarteged the victims when they entered the resort Holiday Oceanview Samal before midnight Monday on the northern tip of the island, about 610 miles southeast of Manila.
Police has identified the hostages as the Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, two Canadians as John Ridsel and Robert Hall and a Filipino woman who happens to be the wife to one of the Canadians.
Two Japanese tried to intervene before the gunman escaped with their four hostages aboard a motorized outrigger from Samal Island, but with no luck. The unidentified gunmen sailed off to Davao City said Captain Alberto Caber.
He tells a naval blockade was set up around the island to stop the kidnappers from reaching Basilan Island farther to the southwest where the militants have strongholds where they keep hostages while negotiating ransoms.
Captain Alberto Caber says at this moment authorities have no immediate suspects. In 2001, Abu Sayyaf militants tried to seize hostages from the Pearl Farm Beach Resort south of Oceanview during a ransom-kidnapping spree in the early 2000s in the southern Philippines.
They seized dozens of Filipino hostages on Basilan and 21 people, mostly European tourists, from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan in 2000, and abducted three Americans and 17 Filipinos in 2001 from the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province southwest of Manila.
The Abu Sayyaf, which has about 400 gunmen, was recently declared a terrorist group by a Philippine court and is also on Washington’s lists of terror organizations.
The militants are still holding other hostages, including two Malaysians, a Dutch bird watcher kidnapped nearly three years ago, and a town mayor.