Authorities in Sulu have been alerted for a possible transfer of the Dutch and Swiss nationals abducted in Tawi-Tawi, into the province.
Governor Abdusakur Tan ordered police and military units to guard all areas where the victims may be smuggled in, provincial government spokesman Sonny Abing III said.
“Pinapabantayan niya (Tan) ‘yung ating mga entry points… maganda naman ang security dito, as of now wala pang konkretong information na dinala ‘yung mga nakidnap sa Tawi-Tawi dito,” Abing said in a phone interview.
On Wednesday night, Dir. Felicisimo Khu, head of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Mindanao, said the abductors might be heading towards Sulu so the Navy’s Task Force 62 put up a “naval blockade.”
Khu made the remark after the Filipino was abducted along with Dutch national Elwold Horn and Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, escaped.
Ivan Sadenas escaped from his abductors around 9:30 p.m. by jumping out of the speeding pumpboat that the armed men used to abduct him and the foreigners in Panglima Sugala, Khu said.
Capt. Renato Yongke, Task Force 62 commander, said patrol gunboats, fast crafts, and light boats with one Navy Seal team are being used for the blockade.
“Lahat ng motorboat dito sa tubig ay ini-inspect,” Yongke told reporters by phone.
Sulu, which lies northeast of the Tawi-Tawi archipelago, is a known lair of the Jemaah Islamiyah-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which had been blamed for several kidnappings of foreign nationals.
In January 2009, members of the group abducted Italian, Swiss, and Filipino workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross who inspected water and sanitation facilities at the Sulu Provincial Jail in Jolo.
Filipina Mary-Jean Lacaba and Swiss national Andreas Notter were freed by the Abu Sayyaf in April, while Italian Eugenio Vagni was released in July. (John Roson)
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