Sirawai kidnapping, if not for ransom, a diversionary tactic, military official says

By Antonio Manaytay

The kidnapping of 64-year-old Rex Triplitt, not Triplet as earlier reported, in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte has remained a mystery to the police and military.

Triplitt is not rich, according to Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade based in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

An earlier police report said the kidnap victim is a Filipino-American. But he is not.

His foreign-sounding name, Nicolas said, might have led the kidnappers to think he is rich.

A farmer, he is a resident in Barangay Piacan for a long time and people in the community knew he is not rich, he said.

The Army released a photo of the victim’s house showing that Triplitt is not rich.

The victim, living with his family in a two-storey house made of local materials, was born to a Cebuano father and a Tausug mother.

That’s why his abduction on September 16 had puzzled the authorities. Both the military and police are clueless as to the motive of the kidnapping, Nicolas admitted.

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It could have meant to distract the military’s pursuit operations against lawless elements in Zamboanga Sibugay and Sulu, he theorized.

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Meanwhile, the local government of Sirawai has offered a P500,000 reward for those who can provide information on the kidnappers. The police have also put up another P100,000.


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