Norwegian mariner kidnapped in Philippines

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Kjartan Sekkingstad at the wheel of a yacht in the marina. Photo: Holiday Oceanview Marina
13:44 CEST+02:00
A Norwegian man was kidnapped in the Philippines on Monday evening, along with two Canadians and a Filipino woman in what is presumed to be an attack by revolutionary communist New People's Army (NPA).

A group dressed as tourists entered the marina 56-year-old Kjartan Sekkingstad was managing on the island of Samal. Sekkingstad, his Filipino girlfriend, and Canadians John Ridsel (68) and Robert Hall (50) were all kidnapped at gunpoint.   

"They were dressed as tourists, and behaved like tourists. Among other things, they spoke very good English as well as the local language Tagalog," Alberto Caber of the local armed forces told Norway's VG newspaper. "They did not cause trouble or any commotion before they pulled out their weapons."

The assailants left a note saying: "Justice for our commandant: NPA". Filipino authorities have yet to confirm that the group is suspected of the crime

The NPA, an armed revolutionary communist group, has been in decline of the Philippines over the last few years, with an estimated 4,000 armed guerrilla fighters still active on the islands .
According to VG, the group's leaders were arrested by authorities in August this year.
Kidnapping is common in the Philippines, although most kidnappings have been executed by the al-Qaida linked terror group Abu Sayyaf. 
"NPA is in many ways more invisible than the larger Muslim groups like MILF and MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front). NPA is more of a guerrilla organisation that is hiding among ordinary people" Arne Røkkum, a Social Anthropologist who has worked in the Philippines, told VG.  
"Even so, if NPA are behind the kidnapping I think the motive is ransom and that there will be demands. And then there is the position of the Norwegian government that they do not negotiate with terrorists."
Sekkingstad's family in Sotra, near Bergen, were devastated by the news.
"It was a very difficult message to get. We were notified by police on Tuesday. As I understand it the kidnapping occurred on Monday. More than that, we do not know. We are obviously very concerned now," Olav David Sekkingstad, Kjartan Sekkingstad's father, told local newspaper Bergens Tidende.






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