Gunmen kidnapped two Canadian tourists, a Norwegian resort manager and a Filipino woman from an island in southern Philippines, the country’s army said Tuesday.
The kidnapping occurred during a raid on the Holiday Oceanview Samal resort on Samal Island, near Davao City, late Monday night. The Globe and Mail identified the kidnapped Canadians as John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50. The 56-year-old Norwegian resort manager was identified as Kjartan Sekkingstad. The Filipino woman has not yet been named.
“Four people were taken but we do not know what group was behind the attack,” Captain Alberto Caber told reporters.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Gunmen Appeared to Target the Victims
The gunmen appeared to target the victims, according to The Associated Press.
“It appeared the foreigners were the targets, they were not taken at random,” Army Captain Captain Alberto Caber told reporters.
Two Japanese tourists tried to intervene in the attack, but were unsuccessful, the AP reports. The gunmen took the victims from the island on a motorized outrigger boat.
Real Sorroche, a journalist with 24 Oras Southern Mindanao, posted photos (seen here) that appear to show the victims being led to a boat, and on the boat.
2. Ridsdel Is the President of a Mining Company
According to his LinkedIn page, Ridsdel is the president of a mining company that is based in the Philippines. He has been the president of TVI Minerals Processing, Inc. since April 2011. He was previously the senior vice president and chief operating officer of TVI Resource Development. The company is affiliated with TVI Pacific Inc., which is based in Canada.
Ridsdel, according to a 2013 article in the Financial Post, previously worked for Petro-Canada in the Middle East and was a journalist at the CBC in Alberta.
Ridsdel’s name has been misspelled as Ridsel in some media reports.
Little is currently known about the other Canadian victim, Robert Hall and the unnamed Filipino woman.
The Norwegian resort employee, Kjartan Sekkingstad, is the manager of the resort marina. The woman is believed to be the manager’s girlfriend, and has been identified only as Tess, according to Rappler.
3. About 30 Tourists Were at the Resort at the Time of the Attack
The Philippines army said that there were about 30 foreign tourists at the resort at the time of the attack.
The Holiday Oceanview opened in 2010, according to its website.
“Our premises are guarded 24/7 by licensed armed guards as well as CCTV so we don’t have to fear petty theft and vandalism,” the website states. “Don’t be misled by the problems reported in the media about Mindanao insecurity! Samal island and Davao City have a long standing reputation as a safe area to live in … authorities are quite strict and crime is very low. People are very friendly and any foreigner feels very safe anywhere in the area …”
4. A Blockade Has Been Set-Up to Prevent the Militants From Reaching Their Stronghold
The Associated Press reports that a naval blockade has been set-up to stop the gunmen from reaching Basilan Island, which is south of the resort. The island is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf militants.
The AP reports that the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militant group has about 400 gunmen.
5. An Al Qaeda Linked Militant Group Tried Kidnapping Tourists in 2001
In 2001, gunmen with Abu Sayyaf, the al Qaeda-linked terror group, attempted a similar attack, storming a resort on Samai Island called Pearl Farm, the Globe and Mail reports.
The group failed to kidnap foreign tourists from the resort, but three security guards were killed while fighting the attackers.