09 January 2012

Another Foreigner Abducted in Mindanao

Warren Rodwell Kidnapped
Is anyone else getting tired of the repeated kidnappings by suspected Muslim extremist in Mindanao? These lawless elements in Southern Philippines have been using the same traditional formula for 35 years now and it's still going strong. So even though they still repeat the same routine, as long as it is profitable, atmospheric and adventurous the crime situation in the strife-torn region will always be a pain in anybody’s administration.

This time, the rebels seized Warren Rodwell, an Australian, from his home in the southern town of Ipil last 5 December 2011. Initial reports said that the Australian ex-serviceman may have injured his hand after fighting off his abductors in his home he shared with his Filipina wife.

The Australian embassy in Manila issued a statement saying that "the Australian government has not sent a negotiating team to the Philippines. Philippine authorities are taking the lead on responding to Mr. Rodwell's kidnapping. Our embassy in Manila is working closely with Philippine authorities."

Major General Noel Coballes, the local army commander, said it was possible Rodwell was being held by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic extremist group founded in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda. After all the intelligence funds spent, this is all the information that the public get – a ‘possible’ and ‘unconfirmed’ abduction by Abu Sayyaf.

The problem with the way the military tries to get Rodwell back is that after almost a month of pursuit operation, they cannot offer any genuine proof that he is alive. A photographed was sent to family members of the victims with a ransom note, but this is not sufficient evidence that Rodwell has been kept alive.

Everyone familiar with the botched operations by both the military and police authorities will not be surprised to learn later on that Rodwell was killed by friendly fire. Hence, for family members, it might be better to hire a professional negotiator and pay the amount necessary to save the life of Rodwell.