The Philippine military says unidentified gunmen have abducted a Norwegian resort manager, two Canadians and a Filipina from a southern island.
Regional military spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber said two Japanese tourists unsuccessfully tried to intervene before the gunmen escaped with their hostages aboard a motorized outrigger from Samal Island, off Davao City.
Caber said the gunmen appeared to have targeted the victims when they entered the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort late Monday on the northern tip of the island, about 610 miles southeast of Manila.
"Four people were taken, but we do not know what group was behind the attack," Caber told reporters. He said there were about 30 foreign tourists at the resort at the time of the raid.
"It appeared the foreigners were the targets. They were not taken at random," he said.
Caber said the abducted foreigners were identified as John Ridsel and Robert Hall from Canada and Kjartan Sekkingstad, the Norwegian manager of the resort. The Filipina was not identified.
Regional police spokesman Superintendent Antonio Rivera said the gunmen also tried to seize a foreign couple from one of the yachts docked at the resort, but the pair resisted and escaped by jumping off the boat. He said the couple suffered minor injuries. It is unclear if the two were the Japanese tourists mentioned by Caber.
Rivera said 11 gunmen in two motorized outriggers were involved in the abduction.
He said the police and military using planes and helicopters were scouring the island's shores and surrounding waters and other areas in the Davao Gulf.
Military sources said the gunmen spoke English and Tagalog, the language spoken widely in the Philippines.
Caber said authorities have no immediate suspects. In 2001, Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf fighters tried to seize hostages from the Pearl Farm Beach Resort south of Ocean View during a ransom-kidnapping spree in the early 2000s in the southern Philippines.
Caber said a naval blockade backed by two helicopter gunships was set up around the island to stop the kidnappers from reaching Basilan Island, to the southwest, where Abu Sayyaf fighters have strongholds where they keep hostages while negotiating ransoms.