THE local contact of kidnappers who abducted four people at the Holiday Ocean View Resort on the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) has been identified.
An official who has personal knowledge of the ongoing investigation said the local contact hosted the kidnappers while they stayed in the vicinity of Igacos for three days before the kidnapping incident.
The local contact is said to be holding the mobile phone taken by the kidnappers from an American couple inside the resort on the night of the kidnapping. This same gadget is said to be the reason authorities were able to trace the local contact of the kidnappers, who are now believed to be in Sulu.
The Special Investigation Task Group Oceanview is tight-lipped on any information regarding its investigation. Since last week, the task group only released one official update on the ongoing probe.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also did not give details, but admitted that such angle is now being looked into by the authorities.
Duterte confirmed that the kidnappers, numbering about 11 and the four kidnap victims -- Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marithes Flor -- are already in Sulu.
Duterte said the kidnappers could be allied with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) or ASG members themselves.
The mayor appealed to the kidnappers or to the group who are now holding the victims not to harm them. He also indicated that the armed group holding the victims is expected to demand ransom in exchange for the safe release of the four captives.
But Duterte said they cannot negotiate with the kidnappers as the government still maintains its "no ransom policy."
"Pera-pera talaga yan. But we can't engage into any negotiations with them. Pero depende yan if willing magbigay yung families ng mga kidnap victims," Duterte said.
Also on Thursday, Duterte said that his request for a talk with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari had reached Misuari, who is now in hiding over his alleged involvement in the Zamboanga siege.
Duterte said he wanted to talk to Misuari to request the MNLF leader to ensure that the kidnap victims are not harmed by the kidnappers.
Sulu is a known bailiwick of Misuari and his group.