Manila (dpa) – Two Canadian nationals and a Norwegian resort owner were abducted by unidentified gunmen from an island in the southern Philippines, the military and police said Tuesday.
A Philippine woman was also taken with the foreigners from the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort on Samal Island, 980 kilometres south of Manila, on Monday evening, said Captain Alberto Caber, a regional military spokesman.
The hostages were dragged into a speedboat last seen heading towards nearby Compostella Valley province, said police Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, a regional deputy commander for operations.
“There was no shootout with the resort’s security guards, who were overpowered by the perpetrators,” he added.
At least three Navy ships were deployed to the area to hunt down the kidnappers, according to a military incident report.
“The kidnappers spoke clear English … and seemed to have specific targets,” the report added. “Two Japanese tried to intervene but failed. There were more or less 30 foreigners in the resort.”
The kidnappers were not identified, but communist and Muslim rebels are active in the region.
In 2001, al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists tried but failed to abduct tourists from Samal Islands’s Pearl Farm Resort. Three employees died in a firefight with the militants.
The same year, the Abu Sayyaf bandits seized 20 people, including three American tourists from a resort island in the western Philippine province of Palawan.
One of the American hostages was beheaded, while another was killed and the third rescued in a military operation one year later.