Gunmen abduct tourists in the Philippines

A Swiss and a Dutch tourist have been abducted along with their local guide while on a bird watching trip in the Philippines.

This content was published on February 1, 2012 - 14:16 and agencies

The tourists, aged 47 and 52, had gone to an area where they could see endangered species. They were seized by an armed group in the country's southernmost Tawi-Tawi island province and taken away on a boat, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Tawi-Tawi governor, Sadikul Sahali, said the tourists had not wanted to be escorted by armed men, choosing instead to be accompanied by a town council member and an unarmed police officer who were overpowered by the gunmen.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction, but kidnapping for ransom is common in the southernmost islands of the Philippines, where a number of Muslim rebel groups operate. 

A Philippine wild bird watching club said the guide was one of its members.

The Swiss foreign ministry said the Swiss Embassy in Manila was in contact with Philippine authorities about the incident. The Dutch Embassy in Manila confirmed the kidnapping and said it was working on the case.

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