ZAMBOANGA - Some of the abductors of the three foreign nationals and a Fiipina in Ocean View Resort in Samal Island, Davao del Norte have been identified, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Saturday.
PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said some witnesses have positively identified the armed men who snatched Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Maritess Flor.
Marquez said they showed to the witnesses photos of previously arrested criminals and wanted persons. They also produced digital facial composite sketches of the suspects and showed these to the witnesses.
The PNP, however, is withholding the identities of the abductors so as not to affect the ongoing investigation.
"The operations and investigations are still ongoing. Medyo may konting linaw yung mga identities ng mga perpetrators, kaya lang hindi pa natin tapos ang investigation kaya hindi pa namin mai-reveal. Kailangan din namin siyempre yung makakuha pa ng additional witnesses. Tinitingnan namin yung mga CCTV footage. We are also investigating kung ano yung naging reactions talaga ng mga security guards at that time," Marquez said.
Asked about the whereabouts of the captives, Marquez said they could not confirm yet if the four hostages were brought to Sulu, although they have been receiving information from different government units that the abductors have slipped through the maritime blockade established by the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
"If evidence ang ating pag-uusapan, wala pang solid evidence na nasa Sulu sila, impormasyon pa lang," he said.
READ: Samal kidnap victims taken to Sulu: Duterte
The top police official said they have yet to establish the group behind the abduction. There is also no information that the perpetrators have already communicated with the families of the captives.
Kidnapping have become a lucrative business in Mindanao. Bandits linked to the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf have earned millions of pesos in ransom payment over the last few decades.
Marquez said the Abu Sayyaf Group is using this as a tool to strengthen their organization in terms of weapon and recruitment of new members.