Police deploy agents to search for missing German couple
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - May 8, 2014 - 11:55am

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Police intelligence units have been mobilized around Sulu province to verify reports that two German nationals kidnapped late April between high sees of Malaysia and Palawan are in the southern province.

A police official privy to the operation said thata technical working group (TWG) composed of local leaders and police intelligence operatives have been working on the ground, searching for the possible presence of Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and her female companion, Herike Diesen, 55.

“There is physical movement of the technical body and our police unit there to verify the possible presence of the victims (Germans),” said the police official, who asked not to be named.

The police source said the operations were launched after they received reports of the German couple's possible presence in the province.

He said they are also tracing the whereabouts of Chinese kidnap victim Gao Huayuan and Filipina Mercelita Dayawan and other local victims, who are believed to be held by the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group.

Gao, and Dayawan were seized from the Singhmata Resort off Semporna, Malaysia and brought to Sulu by the Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, chief of the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the ground forces were ready to support the police in searching for the kidnap victims.

Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Westmincom spokesperson, said the military has also received intelligence information that the German couple has been brought somewhere in Mindanao.

The German sailors went missing while on their way back to Sabah from Palawan after an island hopping cruise. Their yacht was recovered by the Philippine Coast Guard.

ABU SAYYAF ABU SAYYAF GROUP ARMED FORCES GAO HUAYUAN AND FILIPINA MERCELITA DAYAWAN HERIKE DIESEN MALAYSIA AND PALAWAN PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD POLICE ROWENA MUYUELA RUSTICO GUERRERO SINGHMATA RESORT
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