Kidnappers, victims still within Eastern Mindanao - military

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L-R: Kjartan Sekkingstad, John Ridsel, Robert Hall, and Marithes "Tess" Flor

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — The kidnappers and the four tourists kidnapped in Samal Island on Monday (September 21) are still within Eastern Mindanao, according to Army Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

Caber said authorities had pinpointed their location but wouldn't divulge the exact location so as not to derail their operations.

According to earlier reports, the kidnappers took their victims towards the area of Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

On the third day of its probe, the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Oceanview created by the Philippine National Police is still investigating the kidnapping of Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marithes Flor.

The four were abducted by armed men inside the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort on Samal Island Monday evening.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. But authorities at first considered as possible suspects the New People's Army, because a note left at the resort was purportedly signed by the communist rebel group, and the Abu Sayyaf Group, which has been involved in several kidnappings in Mindanao.

But on Wednesday (September 23), President Benigno S. Aquino III said reports he got from investigators suggested that a new group could be behind the kidnapping.

Aquino shared the finding in a news conference during his visit to Apayao, a province in Northern Luzon.

Meanwhile, investigators said the motorized bancas found earlier on the shores of Barangay Tibanban in the town of Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental were not the ones used by the kidnappers, according to Senior Supt. Antonio Rivera, task force spokesman.