Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update: Australian Kidnap Victim Ignored Travel Warnings in Philippines

The Filipina wife of Australian citizen Warren ''Wocca'' Rodwell, 53, of Sydney, reportedly walked out on him after an argument only days before he was kidnapped in the southern Philippines on Monday (December 5) when six gunmen converged on his home in the coastal town of Ipil and abducted him after a struggle. Police believe that Rodwell was shot in the foot as he struggled with the gunmen before they pinned him to the ground and handcuffed him.

COMMENT: Rodwell has been living on Mindanao for about a year, despite an Australian government travel advisory issued in 2005 not to travel to the region, where there have been 16 kidnappings since January 2010.

Unfortunately, so many international travelers either ignore the experience advice of their governments or simply never seek it out, which is why individuals such as Rodwell are kidnapped or experience misfortunes in high-risk areas.

Miraflor Gutang, 27, Rodwell's wife, left their home on November 25. The two were married in June.

As with most kidnappings in the southern Philippines, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf, may be behind Rodwell's abduction, although other criminal gangs flourish in the area where the Australian was kidnapped.

Although it is not uncommon for estranged family members to be implicated in the kidnapping of foreigners in Mindanao, there is apparently no evidence that Gutang is responsible for her husband's kidnapping.

As I have emphasized in previous filings, it is never prudent to resist armed kidnappers in any country, as the moment of the abduction is the one time where adrenaline is at its highest level for all concerned where gunmen will summarily harm the victim to ensure success.

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