Authorities looking at persons of interest in abduction of British couple
Authorities are looking at the possible persons of interest on the kidnapping of a British national and his wife in Zamboanga del Sur.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command chief, did not reveal these persons of interest.
"We already have person of interest, I cannot just reveal it to you now for obvious reason, so hopefully we will have a good lead," he said.
Sobejana said authorities also looking at the dismissal of teachers as a possible motive behind the incident.
"Last Sept. 20, the couple who have a school there... dismissed five teachers so were are trying to find out if their dismissal have anything to do with the kidnapping,
However, Sobejana said there is also a possibility those who abducted the victims were members of the Abu Sayyaf.
"There is no (indication yet), but there is only one group that conduct kidnapping in the area, only the ASG, but we do not also discount the possibility, related to the dismissal of the teachers. Maybe the families made a revenge," he said.
"Until know we haven't heard of ransom demand that is why we cannot yet really establish (anything), but anyway... we sustain our search and rescue effort," he added.
Sobejana said the search and rescue operation by government forces still focuses on the mainland of Zamboanga Peninsula and its nearby areas.
"We concentrate here in the mainland because we think they haven't moved towards Basilan or Sulu," he said.
Sobejana said the military is also conducting aerial, naval and ground operation to prevent perpetrators from moving towards Sulu and Basilan.
"We have air, land and sea (operation) we have naval blockade, we have intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, using our air assets, we also have ground forces securing the coastal areas," he said.
Sobejana also emphasized the importance of the one million peso reward money offered by the governor of Zamboanga del Sur for the rescue of the couple.
"It is a big help because of there is a reward money it can motivate the people, ordinary people to report if they saw the kidnappers with the two victims," he added. Robina Asido/DMS