SECURITY forces in Western Mindanao yesterday pressed their hunt for the gunmen who abducted a 70-year old British national and his Filipino wife even as the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur offered a P1 million reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the kidnappers and the safe rescue of the couple.
“The provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur is exhausting all measures to rescue the lives of the Hyrons couple who were abducted by unidentified gunmen at their resort in Tukuran on Friday night,” the province said in a statement.
Victims Allan Arthur Hyrons and his wife, businesswoman Welma Paglinawan Hyrons, were seized by at least six armed men inside the beach resort they owned in Tukuran municipality at 6:50 p.m. Friday. Two of the suspects posed as clients of the resort being managed by the victims who also own a local school.
Local policemen, soldiers and the Coast Guard have launched operations to rescue the victims and get their abductors. A joint task force was also created to spearhead the operation, said the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command headed by Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.
The Joint Task Force Hyron headed by Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, Major Gen. Roberto Ancan has sought the help of the local community and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in identifying the kidnappers.
Still unidentified gunmen seized the two after two of them checked-in at the Hyrons Resort in Barangay Alindawa, said Police Regional Office 9 director, Brigadier General Froilan F. Quidilla.
Around 6:50 p.m. Friday, the two, along with four companions armed with guns, dragged the couple into a waiting motorboat.
As of press time yesterday, soldiers and policemen were conducting pursuit operation to rescue the couple who are believed to have been targeted since they own a beach resort and a local school.
Quidilla said he has also ordered the local police to fully coordinate their operation to identify and arrest the gunmen and rescue the victims unharmed with the Army and the Marines and the MILF.