Bird Watchers Kidnapped



  •  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' shoulders.
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."

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