NEWS

Canadians Abducted By Gunmen From Philippine Island: Military

09/21/2015 10:33 EDT | Updated 09/23/2015 08:59 EDT

MANILA, Philippines — Unidentified gunmen have abducted two Canadians, a Norwegian resort manager and a Filipino woman from a southern Philippine island, the military and police said Tuesday.

Police have identified the Canadians as John Ridsel and Robert Hall, and the Norwegian as Kjartan Sekkingstad. The unidentified Filipino woman is the wife of one of the Canadians.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the federal government is aware of reports that Canadians were kidnapped in the Philippines and is "pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information."

Two Japanese resort guests unsuccessfully tried to intervene before the gunmen escaped with their hostages aboard a motorized outrigger from Samal Island off Davao City.

The gunmen appeared to have specifically targeted the victims when they entered the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort before midnight Monday on the northern tip of the island, about 975 kilometres southeast of Manila.

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.

Davao del Norte provincial police chief Senior Supt. Samuel Gandingan told government radio station DXRP in Davao City that three men armed with rifles entered the resort before midnight Monday.

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.

— With files from The Associated Press

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