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PHILIPPINES Philippine police: Ransom demanded for Australian

Anti-kidnap group given orders to double efforts to look for missing Australian adventurer

By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
January 1, 2012

Manila: Philippine police on Sunday said that militants have demanded ransom for kidnapped Australian adventurer Warren Rodwell.

Rodwell, 53, had been missing since December 5, 2011 and was reportedly abducted by a group of armed men in southern Zamboanga's Sibugay province. Rodwell was said to have been last sighted in Basilan several days ago.

Police Senior Superintendent Ruben Cariaga said that kidnappers mailed four pictures of Rodwell to his Filipino wife before Christmas and called her to demand an initial ransom of $23,000 (Dh84,410).

A former Australian soldier, Rodwell had reportedly been wounded when he fought off his abductors.

Meanwhile, a unit of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front charged with pursuing kidnapers and other criminal elements has been given orders to intensify its efforts to find the Australian adventurer. Some 2,000 government soldiers have also been deployed to look for Rodwell.

According to reports, Rodwell's abduction has reached the attention of the Australian government, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd taking up the issue with his Philippine counterpart, Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Rodwell had married Filipina Miraflor Gutang, 27, in June this year.
 
A group led by Puruji Indama is said to have kidnapped Rodwell, who, based on his personal website, was also an English tutor in China.

He "has also written for, contributed to, and edited hard-copy magazines. Many of Warren's feature articles, stories, reviews and pictures have been published both online and in printed media form. In addition to DVD documentary narration, Warren Rodwell designs and administers various websites and blogs," it said.

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