Australian kidnapped in Zambo Sibugay

Posted at 12/05/2011 8:19 PM | Updated as of 12/06/2011 6:07 PM

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Unidentified armed men kidnapped an Australian in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay province on Monday night, the military said.

The victim was identified as Warren Richard Rodwill, 56, a resident of Green Meadow Subdivision in Barangay Lower Pangi, Ipil.

Initial reports say Rodwill was abducted by at least 6 armed men.

Police said they found streaks of blood on the floor of the victim’s house. The suspects also seemed to have forced their way into the foreigner’s house, since one of the doors was destroyed.

An empty shell of .45 caliber firearm was also found inside the house.

Police have yet to confirm if Rodwill is wounded.

Rodwill’s kidnappers were last spotted heading south toward the sea, according to Lt. Col. Randy Cabangcabang, spokesman of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

Regional police director Superintendent Elpidio de Asis tagged the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf as allegedly responsible for the kidnapping. However, authorities noted that more evidences and witnesses are needed to confirm this.

Rodwill, a retired soldier, was married to a Zamboanga Sibugay native he met on the Internet.

He has been living in the province for about 6 months after purchasing a house in the subdivision.

Soldiers and police are pursuing the kidnappers as of posting.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Task force

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her government has formed a task force to look into the kidnapping.

"We are certainly aware that an Australian in the Philippines, that he may have been kidnapped. There are media reports to that effect as well. In these circumstances, a task force has been formed to deal with this issue. Our embassy in the Philippines is working with local authorities to try and establish the full facts here. We don't have the full facts now and we want to make sure that we establish the full facts, and we are providing consular support and assistance to family members of the man who may be involved in these kidnap circumstances," Gillard said.

Representatives of the Australian embassy arrived in Zamboanga City Tuesday afternoon but declined to speak to the media. -- reports from Jewel Reyes and RJ Rosalado ABS-CBN Zamboanga; ANC