Samal Island – Just East of Davao City on Mindanao
Suspected Insurgent Muslim Gunmen Kidnap Tourists
SEE Latest UPDated INFO BELOW
The Norwegian Embassy in the Philippines has reported an unknown number of gunmen, dressed in typical Mindanao Muslim insurgent dress, have abducted four tourists from Samal Island in the trouble South Eastern Mindanao island group. Philippine Armed forces have sent out boats and planes in search for those abducted and their captors. This is not the first a Muslim Gunmen Kidnap Tourists situation has taken place. It is farther north than usual. The news has also just been reported in the local Davo City VG newspaper. See video on Mindanao Islamic Insurgency at the end of this report.
Those abducted include one Norwegian male, two Canadians and a Filipina woman. The group of abductors have not yet be positively identified as to the identity of the group. Particularly disturbing is the report that the foreigners were specifically targetted by the gunmen. Mindanao, and in particular, southern parts of the large island are well known as the center of the Philippine Muslim insurgency. Prior to this latest activity, insurgents have stayed farther to the south, not visually appearing as far north as Davo City. Davo City residents consider the Samal Island their weekend recreation spot.
The island of Mindanao has been the center of Islamic insurgent and separatist activity for decades. Muslims in the area resented the presence of colonialists and now the trans-migration of Philippino citizens by the central government to the island of Mindanao. The separatists fear their cultural, religious and political traditions are being weakened by forced grouping of Philippine Muslims with Catholic migrants into their area. There are three groups of Muslim Secessionists. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); and the better known and more aggressive Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
23 September 2015 – Update 3
Philippine special anti-terrorist trained military troops start offensive action to capture 6, now identified, members of foreign Islamic militants, plus the local Muslim insurgents that assisted them.
22 September 2015 – UPDATE 2
Philippine police have identified 3 of the 4 individuals abducted from the tourist resort on Samal island as Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, who is the marina manager at the resort, and two Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsel.
22 September 2015 – UPDATE 1
Philippine Military sets up a naval blockade around Samal Island; goal to stop kidnappers from leaving the island with abducted foreign tourists. If successful this action will prevent those abducted from being taken to militant strongholds in the southwest part of the island of Mindanao. It is expected the Philippines authorities will issue a temporary travel alert Philippines area of Mindanao Muslims until this matter is settled.
YouTube Video on the Autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao – Location center of Separists Insurgency
Steve Edwards is a world traveler who has traveled to many countries, living, loving and enjoying the cultures of the world. My passions are my family, my children and sharing the amazing experiences enjoyed while traveling, working and living all over the world.