Crisis body formed to solve Australian’s abduction

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The local government of Ipil activated a crisis management committee on Wednesday to speed up rescue operation of an Australian abducted in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said only the crisis management committee can issue information concerning the joint rescue operations of Warren Richard Rodwell.

Rodwell, 53, was kidnapped Monday by six gunmen believed to be members of a kidnap-for-ransom-group (KFRG) from his residence at Greenmeadow Subdivision, Lower Pangi village in Ipil, the capital town of Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Cabangbang said Ipil Mayor Eldwin Alibutdan is the designated committee chairman with Army 102nd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Gerry Barrientos and Zamboanga Sibugay Police Director Ruben Cariaga as members.

Rodwell is from Sydney, Australia. He married Miraflor Gutang, a native of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay, in June 2011. The couple settled in Ipil town since October this year.

The abductors have not yet established any communication with the crisis management committee, and even to Rodwell's wife.

Also, the authorities have yet to ascertain the identities of the abductors.

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier said her government has also established a task force to investigate the kidnapping.

The Australian government also warned Tuesday its citizens to avoid travels to Central and Western Mindanao following the kidnapping of Rodwell.

"We strongly advise you not to travel to Central and Western Mindanao due to the very high threat of terrorist attack kidnapping, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups," the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said in its latest travel advisory.

The travel advisory covered the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Misamis Occidental, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Its citizens are also advised to think twice before going to eastern Mindanao provinces, which include Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Australians are encouraged to register with the DFAT if they want to travel to the Philippines.

Monday's kidnapping incident was the second this year in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The first was last September 4, when a businesswoman identified as Luisa Galvez-Morrison was seized in downtown Ipil municipality.

Morrison, who is married to a Scottish national, was rescued last September 19 in Sitio Bohe Peyat, Baiwas village, Sumisip, Basilan province. (Bong Garcia/Sunnex)

Local news

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