Search for Abducted Aussie Continues

David Yu Santos

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MANILA – Australian national Warren Richard Rodwell came to the Philippines in June this year to marry his girlfriend he met online, according to the local government of Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Shortly after getting married in civil rights performed by Ipil Mayor Eldwin Alibutdan, Rodwell, 53, and his wife, Miraflor, settled in a unit at Green Meadows Subdivision in Barangay Upper Pangi.

“We dont actually have any information on Rodwell’s background,” Alberto Alcoriza, Ipil acting Mayor told Move.PH, “but we have been told that he is a retired soldier in Australia.”

Rodwell was alone in his home when “atleast six armed men” forcibly took him shortly past 6 on Monday evening. A neighbor heard a gunshot during the commotion at the victim’s home. Responding policemen however failed to pursue the suspects, who dragged the victim to a “coastal area south” of Ipil.

“Allegedly, Rodwell was shot because he tried to fight off his abductors,” Alcoriza said. Streaks of blood were also seen on the floor of the victim’s home.

Alcoriza described the foreigner’s home as “well-fortified” considering his military background. The one-story home is surrounded by a wall made of bricks and

“He rarely mingles with his neighbors and keeps a firearm, obviously for security reasons,” Alcoriza added.

Probers from the Ipil Municipal Police Station who searched the Rodwell’s home following the abduction incident found a sack of charcoal where the suspects could have kept their firearms prior to attacking the victim.

“It is likely that the suspects could have pretended as vendors since the victim was strict when it came to his home’s security,” Alcoriza said.

Regional police director Chief Superintendent Elpedio de Asis went to Ipil on Tuesday morning to personally check on the status of the “on-going operations” to locate the Rodwell by elements of the local police unit and the Philippine Army’s 102nd Brigade.

Despite the security measures Rodwell implemented in his home, De Asis however noted the absence of security personnel in the subdivision.

“There are no security guards and anyone can freely enter the village,” De Asis said.

De Asis refused to comment which group could be behind Rodwell’s abduction. He said that no one has claimed responsibility of the incident as of posting time.

In early September, armed men also kidnapped a former overseas Filipino worker and beauty salon owner in Ipil. Luisa Galvez was recovered two weeks lated by Army troops in Basilan.

On January 29, a university student was kidnapped in Zamboanga City and was released in Payao town after his family reportedly gave in to an undisclosed ransom demand of the kidnappers.

A 9-year-old boy was also abducted outside his school in Titay town last March and was freed six months later. The kidnappers initially demanded a P25-million ransom, but lowered it to P10-million.

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(note: attached photo of Warren Rodwell, courtesy of Police Regional Office 9)

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