By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The military’s Western Mindanao Command (WMC) has formed a joint task force empowered to use air and naval assets to rescue British national Allan Hyrons and his Filipino wife Wilma from armed men who abducted them in Zamboanga del Sur last Friday.
Led by Army Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force Hyrons (JTFH) will absorb existing military task groups and selected units in order to synchronize actions meant to “track down and apprehend” the captors and “ensure the safe freedom” of the couple, the WMC said in a statement Wednesday.
Allan Hyrons and wife Wilma Paglinawan were seized by armed men at their beach resort at Barangay Alindahaw in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur at around 6:50 p.m. Friday, earlier police and military reports said.
The JTFH will be “unrelenting in its pursuit of neutralizing the kidnappers and rescuing the captives,” the WMC said.
“Meanwhile, all available naval and air assets are being utilized by the Task Force to conduct intensive maritime and aerial operations to intercept and block all possible withdrawal routes of the perpetrators,” it added.
In conjunction with the air and naval deployments, the WMC statement said, ground troops “are already undertaking search and rescue operations in areas across Zamboanga Peninsula to narrow down the route and location” of the abductors and their captives.
The statement hinted that the incident was a case of “kidnap-for-ransom,” but did not mention any group responsible for the abduction.