Police said Friday that local thugs, not al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf
militants, were likely to have abducted two European tourists this week
in the southern Philippines.
Police Director Felicisimo Khu said the kidnappers had not contacted authorities or made any ransom demand.
Ewold Horn of the Netherlands, Lorenzo Vinciguerra of Switzerland and
their Filipino guide, Ivan Sarenas, were abducted Wednesday during a
bird-watching trip to Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province.
They were the latest kidnap victims in an impoverished region infested
with al-Qaida-linked militants and criminal gangs that often seek ransom
for their foreign hostages.
Sarenas escaped hours later by jumping off their captors’ boat after he saw some fishermen, who rescued him.
The Department of Tourism on Friday seemingly laid the blame for the
kidnapping of two Europeans in Tawi-Tawi squarely on the victims'
In a press statement issued late Friday, the DOT stressed that "the
issuance of travel advisories is part of the regular functions of
embassies in line with ensuring the safety and security of their
citizens in a foreign country. For the Philippines, advice against
travel to some parts of Mindanao has been constant and common." The DOT
then added: "The Tawi-Tawi incident is considered unfortunate and could
have been avoided had the visitors taken necessary precautions many
European tourists usually take in heed of these advisories."