CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Sep) – A 64-year-old Filipino-American was kidnapped by four gunmen in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte early evening Wednesday, police said.
In a report, the Sirawai police station revealed that Rex Triplet, 64, a resident of Barangay Piacan in Sirawai, was going home with his wife when the kidnappers wearing camouflaged uniforms stopped his motorcycle in barangay Tapanayan.
The report said the 23-year-old wife, Celsa Maani-Triplet, was able to escape being captured and reported the incident to barangay officials.
Police said the abductors were armed with an M203 grenade launcher and three short firearms.
MindaNews tried to call the Sirawai police operation center but the policemen on duty could not say if Triplet is an American with a United States passport.
The kidnapping came after the US Embassy in Manila issued last month a warning to all US citizens living in some parts of Mindanao of plans by lawless groups to abduct them.
The advisory told US citizens not to travel to the Sulu Archipelago “due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping” and also to “reconsider travel to other areas of Mindanao” for the same reason. Marawi City is also off limits “due to terrorism and civil unrest.”
Sirawai town Mayor Gamar Janihim immediately convened a crisis committee composed by police and military officials after the incident was reported. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)