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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Kidnapping has become ‘big business’

Kidnapping for ransom demands has become a large international industry, also in the Philippines where armed men seized a Norwegian, two Canadians and a Filipina earlier this week. Police and military forces continued to search for the four hostages on Wednesday.

It remained unclear whether any organized groups were behind the kidnapping. Local media speculation initially blamed the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf but then a note found at the scene indicated the communist organization New People’s Army (NPA) was behind it. Police now are unsure either group is involved, while the New York Times reported that most of the kidnappings in the Philippines are conducted by criminal organizations.

The Norwegian hostage, 56-year-old Kjartan Sekkingstad from Sotra in Hordaland County, was apparently seized after the kidnappers arrived at the yacht club where he worked and tried to capture a couple sleeping on board one of the yachts. Sekkingstad had apparently tried to come to their assistance along with the Canadians, and they were kidnapped instead.

Sekkingstad has been living in the Philippines and worked as a manager at the Oceanview Resort’s yacht club at Samal in Mindanao. His family in Norway was being kept apprised of developments in the case as is Norway’s foreign ministry. staff



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