Philippines travel advice

The three foreigners and Filipino woman kidnapped from Samal Island last week are being guarded by a so-called “composite” unit of as many as 200 Abu Sayyaf fighters under the command of various sub-leaders in Sulu, a police intelligence source said.

Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadians John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, and Hall’s Filipino partner Marites Flor, were seized on Monday night last week from the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort.

The source, who spoke to on strict condition of anonymity, cited informants as saying the hostages were moved from Barangay Tanum in the town of Patikul to Barangay Silangkan in Parang, at the extreme western coast of Sulu, on Saturday, September 26.

The information jives with reports that an outrigger canoe powered by twin engines was found in that village on that day. Samal kidnappers could be the same group that abducted German couple in 2014

Earlier, the source disclosed that intelligence data from the field indicated the hostages were likely taken to Patikul, Sulu, where a white speedboat was seen docking past noon the next day.

The┬ásource informed that the four were then moved from Patikul after a meeting in Barangay Tanum between several Abu Sayyaf leaders, after which the gunmen split into three groups led by Hatid Hajan, Radulan Sahiron alias “Putol,” and Ustadz Yaser Igasan.Citing the information received from field assets, the source said the Abu Sayyaf’s plan apparently “is to safeguard the four kidnapped subjects before they raise ransom demands.”The gunmen guarding the hostages, he added, are “now evading government forces” who have launched pursuit operations.

Earlier, the source shared the suspicion that the snatch on Samal could have been perpetrated by the same group (led by Muamar Askali of Barangay Bunot, Indanan, Sulu) that kidnapped German couple Stefan Viktor Ononek and Henrite Dielen off a yacht last year.