Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Back on 2XS, in Ocean View Marina on Samal Island, Mindanao. We were looking forward to being back in our littLE floating home but in THE airport I logged into Facebook and found dreadful news…
This article is in today's Australian; John forwarded it to us)
MANILA: Gunmen have kidnapped two Canadian tourists, a Norwegian employee and a Filipina from a resort island in the conflict-racked southern Philippines.
The suspects sailed two motorboats into a marina on Samal island, about 800km southeast of Manila, and seized the four from aboard yachts just before midnight on Monday, police spokesman Antonio Rivera said yesterday.
Law enforcement boats and helicopters were scouring the waters around the island yesterday to try to stop the kidnappers from leaving the area.
“They appeared to target the foreigners. They went straight for the yachts,” Superintendent Rivera said. “We still don’t have anything. We’re blank. No group has taken responsibility and there is no demand for ransom.”
The Canadians abducted from the Holiday Ocean View resort were identified as John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50. The Norwegian, who was working at the marina, was identified as Kjartan Sekkinstad, 56. The 40-year-old Filipina, identified only as Tess, was a companion of one of the foreign tourists.
A Japanese couple was nearly abducted but they fought back.
A Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman in Oslo said the government was investigating the reports.
Samal island, a short boat ride from the southern commercial centre of Davao on Mindanao island, is famed for powdery white sand beaches and dive spots, with resorts there charging up to $US500 ($700) a night.
The southern Philippines has endured decades of conflict, with Muslim rebels waging a separatist conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
In the most recent kidnapping of foreigners, gunmen from the separatist Abu Sayyaf seized a German couple in April last year while they were sailing off the island of Palawan.
The couple was released six months later, with Abu Sayyaf claiming it had received all of the 250 million pesos ($7.6m) it demanded in ransom.
We missed all of the horror by less than 24 hours. This marina is now probably the safest place in the Philippines – armed soldiers on duty, day and night.
But we are sick with worry about our marina friends.
(The report is not quite accurate. They didn’t bring their boats into the marina; there is a secure gate which prevents access. They parked their boats outside the high walls and somehow ran the hostages along the marina walls and down into the boats. Not sure how…Kjartan, the marina manager, is a strong silent tough and honourable man, similar in character and build to John Miedecke – if I were a bandit I would NOT try to abduct Kjartan!! On a lighter note…John sent me an email asking if we still had our panga (big strong machete-type thing from the Solomons. And yes…pete sleeps with it next to his pillow!!))