Sun, Oct 06, 2019 - Page 5 News List

UK man, wife kidnapped in Philippines

PLANNED:Two of the suspects checked into a resort the couple own a day before the abduction and waited for them to arrive, with more gunmen appearing the next day

The Guardian

A British national and his Filipina wife have been abducted from a resort in the southern Philippines.

Allan Arthur Hyrons, 70, and his wife, Wilma Paglinawan Hyrons, were taken by armed men at 6:50pm on Friday from Hyrons Beach, a resort the couple owns in Tukuran town in Zamboanga Del Sur.

Hyrons, a dual national, has lived in the province since 2013, where he owns and operates several businesses with his wife.

Two of the suspects checked into the resort a day before the abduction and waited for the couple to arrive, police spokesperson Major Helen Galvez said.

“They own a lot of properties and business so they are always moving,” Galvez said. “The suspects waited for the victims to arrive at the resort.”

More gunmen arrived on Friday and entered the beach resort, taking the couple to the beach front, and forcing them in to two motorized boats.

The vessels fled in two directions. It was not clear if the couple were in one boat or were separated.

The military alerted its forces and was coordinating a search operation with police, said Captain Clint Antipala, a local military spokesperson.

Security forces have not identified the group behind the abduction and no one has claimed responsibility for it.

The region is home to numerous armed groups including Abu Sayyaf. The highly factionalized group has leaders who are focused on kidnapping foreigners for ransom, while others have recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The group has been responsible for suicide bombings in the region.

A patrol agreement between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia in the Sulu Sea, surrounding island provinces where Abu Sayyaf Group mainly operate, has reduced kidnappings in the past few years.

The Zamboanga Peninsula in mainland Mindanao, where the latest abduction happened, has not seen incidents of kidnapping in recent years.

“It’s been a while since an incident of kidnapping happened in our area. We are alarmed,” Galvez said.

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