Skip to main content

Philippines searches swamps for kidnapped Europeans


Philippine troops were scouring mangroves on remote southern islands Monday as the search for two kidnapped Europeans intensified, security officials said.
Hundreds of naval troops and Marines have been deployed to search for Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, and Dutchman Ewold Horn, 52, in the remote Tawi Tawi archipelago, said Colonel Jose JohrielCenabre.
The pair were snatched by un unknown group of gunmen on Wednesday while on an expedition to photograph rare hornbills in the wild, but government forces have since found no sign of the pair.
"Our search efforts have intensified. There is no reason for us to believe that they have slipped past the naval blockade (around Tawi Tawi)," said Cenabre, deputy commander of the local Navy.
The authorities have not been able to pinpoint who carried out the abduction and where the captives are being held. There are vast seas around Tawi Tawi, which consists of more than 300 small islands bordering Malaysia.
"We do not know who they are what their demands are," provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson told AFP.
"The group has not contacted us and we are still searching in the area.
"They (the kidnappers) have not said anything and we have not identified the group," said Major General Noel Coballes, the regional military chief.
The southern Philippines has long been plagued by groups of outlaws who kidnap people to hold for huge ransoms.
The most feared of these is the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf which has been tied to the worst terror attacks in Philippine history.
In previous cases, armed gangs have turned their captives over to Abu Sayyaf, who have been known to behead their captives.
But Abu Sayyaf is not widely active in Tawi Tawi, raising hopes that the hostages may still be in the hands of ordinary criminals.
Abu Sayyaf, founded with seed money from Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, are based largely in the islands of Jolo and Basilan to the northeast of Tawi Tawi.
US troops have been based in the southern Philippines for a decade to help train local troops in hunting down members of the group.
-------------------------------------
AFP News 
Yahoo Online News

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Duterte visits Pakistan navy ship docked in Manila - CNN Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte toured a Pakistani naval ship Thursday and extended an open invitation to its crew to visit the country any time.

The Navy Ship SAIF, one of the four F-22P or Zulfiguar-class frigates of Pakistan, is on a three-day goodwill visit. It will stay in the country until December 17.

For more about the CNN Philippines article.


According to the Naval Technology website:
The F-22P or Zulfiquar (English: Sword) class frigate is a 2,500t multi-mission, conventionally powered frigate built for the Pakistan Navy. Design and construction of the F-22P started after a $750m deal was signed in 2005 between Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) and China Shipbuilding Trading Co (CSTC). It is equipped with a 76.2mm main gun, an 8 round FM-90 Surface-to-Air Missile, C-802/CSS N-8 Surface-to-Surface Missile in 2 containers each containing 4 missiles, 2 Type-730B 30mm Close-in Weapon System, and 2 Triple ET-52C Torp…