On Friday, October 4, a British and Filipino national were kidnapped from a beach resort in the town of Tukuran, in the southern province of Zamboanga del Sur (southwest Mindanao). As of Monday, October 7, the six gunmen who abducted the couple have not yet been identified. Insurgent groups such as Abu Sayyaf are known for operating in the province.
Police and military forces have launched an investigation into the incident and a search operation is reportedly ongoing.
Kidnapping is common in the southern Philippines where insurgent groups are known for kidnapping people for ransom.
Abu Sayyaf is a radical Islamist group and Islamic State (IS) affiliate that has been involved for years in kidnappings, bombings, and various other violent activities in southern and western Philippines, particularly in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawa-Tawa, and Palawan. The group is known to conduct kidnapping raids and is estimated to have ten hostages, including four foreign nationals. The Filipino military has reportedly foiled abduction plots on Palawan by the group in the past.
As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago due to ongoing terrorist activity and regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups. Authorities advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.
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