Task force set up to rescue couple

  • AseanPlus News
  • Monday, 07 Oct 2019

Manila: The Philippine military has created a task force to rescue a British man and his Filipino wife who were abducted from a beach resort in the country’s trouble south, a spokesman said.

Allan Arthur Hyrons, 70, and Wilma Paglinawan Hyrons, whose age was not known, were kidnapped on Friday from the resort they owned in Tukuran town in Zamboanga del Sur province.

The gunmen fled with the hostages in two motorised boats going in different directions, and it was not clear whether the couple were in one vessel or separated.

The military has “created a joint task force to effect the rescue of Allan and Wilma Hyrons, ” Major Arvin Encinas, a regional armed forces spokesman, told Manila radio station DZBB.

“We are looking into leads on their whereabouts, ” he added.

“With the help of the community, by giving vital information, we hope to ensure that the couple are safe in the rescue operation.”

Encinas said the suspects’ identities have not yet been determined, but noted that kidnap-for-ransom groups are active in the area.

There was so far no indication that the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group was behind the abduction, he added.

Abu Sayyaf has abducted dozens of foreigners for ransom, killing some of them, including a German man in 2017.

The militants have also been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines, and its late leader, Isnilon Hapilon, was known as the head of Islamic State in South-East Asia.

Hapilon was among nearly 1,000 Islamist militants killed during a five-month siege on the southern city of Marawi in 2017, which also left 255 soldiers and civilians dead. — dpa

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