The military and police are searching three provinces in Mindanao for the the two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman who were kidnapped from Samal Island.
An eyewitness to the event, as well as CCTV video shows the culprits were most likely Abu Sayyaf militants and not NPA communist guerillas.
Hurt in the scuffle were Steve Tripp, an American and his Japanese wife. It is believed that Tripp was mistaken for John Ridsdel, who was nearby in another boat and who came to the rescue of the couple only to be captured himself.
Tripp and his wife were taken to Pena Plata hospital after being treated for what appeared to be a pistol whipping by the abductors – a pistol and gun clip from the attackers was left behind in the crime scene at Oceanview Marina. .
The abduction has sparked fear throughout Samal Island – tourism is a huge part of the island’s economy and many fear that the attack will diminish their ability to make a living on the island.
Oceanview Marina is currently building a gun turret to accommodate a heavy machine gun for the protection of the marina – currently the marina has no formal protection other than a few guards. On the night of the attack, witnesses say a few of the guards were not on duty.
Almost 700,000 tourists visited Samal Island in 2014 – recent interviews by Philippineslifestyle.com suggest that many foreigners as well as a high percentage of Filipinos will hesitate to visit the island due to the reports of the kidnapping events.
The last attack on the island came in 2001 when the Abu Sayyaf attacked Pearl Farm Resort and killed two employees – they failed to abduct any guests on that particular attack.