KIDNAPPERS have not made contact with the families of British businessman Allan Hyrons and his Filipina wife since the abduction of the resort owners in Zamboanga del Sur on Friday last week, the military said yesterday.
This could be because the kidnappers and their victims “are still on the move, they have yet to settle down in one area,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City.
Sobejana said the Joint Task Force Hyrons believes the kidnappers are still in Zamboanga del Sur or in the coastal areas in Lanao del Sur. He said a naval blockade has been put up to prevent the kidnappers from bringing their victims to Sulu or other areas.
Sobejana said the perpetrators may be a Zamboanga del Sur-based kidnap-for-ransom group. He fears the group would turn over the victims to the bandit group Abu Sayyaf which is notorious for beheading kidnap victims whose families refused to pay ransom.
“They have what we call sub-contracting,” said Sobejana, referring to the practice wherein a group would pass on to the Abu Sayyaf their victims for a fee. The Abu Sayyaf would then negotiate for ransom.
“That (Abu Sayyaf) is the group which we see the victims will ultimately end up with … Once they’re in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, the security landscape will be different,” said Sobejana.
Sobejana said investigators are determining if the kidnapping has anything to do with the couple’s decision to dismiss five teachers from a school they own, on September 20.
“We established that one of teachers who were dismissed has a link with a group involved in kidnapping before,” said Sobejana.
Sobejana said the British ambassador to the Philippines, Daniel Pruce, is in constant contact with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for updates on the kidnapping.