Skip to main content

Two Europeans kidnapped in Philippines: military


Two European birdwatchers were abducted Wednesday in the remote southern Philippines where Islamic militants frequently kidnap foreigners to extort ransoms, authorities said.
Gunmen seized the men, a Dutch and a Swiss, on a tiny island that is part of the Tawi-Tawi archipelago and forced them onto a speedboat, said regional police chief Felicisimo Khu.
Ivan Sarenas, a Filipino guide, was also kidnapped but later jumped off the boat and swam to safety, while a second guide had escaped earlier and reported the crime to authorities, Khu said in a written report.
"Ivan Sarenas was able to escape from his abductors by jumping out of the speeding pumpboat," Khu said.
The gunmen were still holding Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, and Dutchman Ewold Horn, 52, the official added.
Khu said the Philippine Navy mounted a naval blockade of the island to prevent them escaping to the nearby Sulu archipelago, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf militants who have kidnapped foreigners in the past for ransom.
Sarenas is a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and went to the area in search of the critically-endangered Sulu bleeding-heart pigeon, one of the world's rarest birds, the club's treasurer, Michael Lu, told AFP.
Lu described the suspects as locals.
"They apparently planned to sell them (hostages) to the Abu Sayyaf or the MILF," he said, referring to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim armed group now in peace talks with the government after a decades-old guerrilla war.
The Dutch foreign ministry refused to confirm the abduction and said it did not know the identity of those kidnapped.
Regional military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said the military did not yet know who abducted the trio.
But immediate suspicion fell on Islamic militants who are based in the southern Philippines and frequently kidnap foreigners as well as locals in efforts to extort ransoms.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf is the most infamous group based in the south, but other bandits and kidnapping gangs also roam the often lawless area that is close to Malaysian waters.
A rotating force of 600 US troops have been stationed in the southern region of Mindanao for a decade, helping to train local soldiers how to combat the Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants.
Wednesday's abductions lifted the number of foreigners kidnapped in the southern Philippines since the beginning of last year to 10.
Five of them -- an Australian, two Malaysian traders, an Indian married to a Filipina and a Japanese man -- are still in captivity. Three abducted Filipinos are also still being held.
The Australian, 53-year-old Warren Rodwell, was kidnapped from his home in in a southern town in December and appeared in a video released to media last month in which he said his abductors were demanding $2 million for his release.
"To the Australian embassy here in the Philippines, this is your constituent appealing for his life, his safety. Please help facilitate," Rodwell said.
In 2000 the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 21 mostly European tourists from a Malaysian island resort and brought them by boat to the Philippine island of Jolo, not far from Tawi Tawi.
The hostages were ransomed off after many months for millions of dollars, with Libya brokering the deals and facilitating their release.
The following year the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three Americans along with a group of Filipino tourists from a southwestern Philippine island resort. One of the Americans was beheaded and another was killed during a rescue attempt.
The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.
It is believed to have only a few hundred militants but is blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a ferry in Manila in 2004 that killed more than 100 people, as well as kidnappings.
---------------------------------------
By Cecil Morella | AFP News
February 2,2012

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…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.


According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.



Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…