Official: Kidnappers' local contact identified

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Kidnappers stayed for three days in the vicinity of Igacos, which is a nickname of Samal Island, before taking four tourists at gunpoint on September 21 at the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort.

This is according to a local official who has personal knowledge of the ongoing investigation into the abduction of Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Filipina Marithes Flor.

According to the officials, who requested not to be named, a local resident hosted the kidnappers.

The resident is said to be in possession of the mobile phone taken by the kidnappers from an American couple who were also at the resort but were not kidnapped.

Because of the phone, authorities were reportedly able to trace the local contact of the kidnappers, now believed to be in Sulu with the four tourists.

Meanwhile, Special Investigation Task Group Oceanview remained tight-lipped about their investigation, having released only one official update since last week.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also did not give out details but admitted that authorities were looking into such an angle.

He said there were about 11 kidnappers now in Sulu.

He added the kidnappers could be allied with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), if not ASG members themselves.

The mayor has already appealed to the kidnappers not to harm the tourists.

Related: Duterte appeals to ASG not to harm kidnap victims

On Thursday (October 1), he said that Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), had already received his request for a talk about the situation.

Misuari has been in hiding because since the siege of Zamboanga siege in 2013, which was staged by some of his followers.

Duterte said he wanted to ask Misuari's help to to ensure the safety of the kidnapped tourists.

Sulu is a bailiwick of Misuari and the MNLF.