Duterte: NPA not behind kidnapping of foreigners on Samal
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina before midnight on Monday was the work of professionals and not by communist rebels.
Duterte, who chairs the Southern Mindanao peace and order council, made the statement amid the recovery of a note purportedly written by the New People’s Army (NPA), which claimed responsibility over the kidnapping of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Hall’s Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor, and Norwegian marina manager Kjartan Sekkingstad.
“The way they executed their movement was very precise, they did not exhibit any hesitancy, not even fear,” Duterte said of the armed men.
Duterte categorically said the kidnapping was not the handiwork of the NPA.
“The NPAs don’t kidnap for money, it’s an ideological thing for them, although they oftentimes abduct soldiers, they don’t do that to civilians,” he said.
Pressed on what group was possibly behind the kidnapping, he said the whole thing remained a puzzle.
He speculated that if it happened between Zamboanga and Siasi, it could have been the Abu Sayyaf.
“It’s hard to say,” Duterte said.
Duterte, who said he initially laid off his hands on the issue in deference to the officials of the Island Garden City of Samal, said he had already sought the help of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which also promised to help solve the mystery.
“In the mountains of Davao, the NPAs will know where they are,” he added.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said on Friday it has also mobilized its intelligence units to help government forces in the search and possible rescue of the victims.
Rolando Olamit, chair of the MNLF Davao State, said all of their assets in the Davao region and in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu had been activated in support of the government’s efforts.
“The leadership of the MNLF has already issued an order to immediately gather information about the identity and the location of the armed men,” Olamit said.
He also said while the Abu Sayyaf was “one of the well-oiled organizations that have the capability to conduct such operation,” it was not certain the kidnapping was staged by the bandit group, which was more active in western Mindanao.
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