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Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

FCO issues new warning after kidnapping at Filipino holiday resort



British travellers are being warned not to visit Mindanao in the southwest Philippines where four people were snatched from a tourist resort on the island.


Two Canadians, a Norwegian and a local woman were abducted by  gunmen late last night from the Holiday Oceanview resort on Samal Island, near Davao City on Mindanao.


Philippine authorities have named the Canadian tourists as John Ridsel and Robert Hall. The Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad, is the manager of the resort. The Filipino woman hasn't been named but she is believed to be the partner of one of the kidnapped Canadians.


A local army spokesman said it appeared the four were picked out deliberately by their kidnappers, rather than selected at random.


The attackers and their hostages fled by boat and a naval blockade was set up around the island to prevent them reaching another island in the southwest known as a hideout for militants.


The Foreign Office has updated its advice, which was already warning against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago  'because of ongoing terrorist activity and clashes between military and insurgent groups'.


It also advises against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reason.


The FCO said: "There is a threat from kidnapping, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnapping could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and on dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea.


"Foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas in the past. On 21 September a group of foreigners were reported kidnapped from a boat near a resort on Samal Island in Davao del Norte.


"The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking."


 

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