Troops search for Sayyaf hostages in Sulu

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - Examiner) (Mindanao

SULU – Government forces continue to search for over 2 dozen foreign and local hostages of the extremist group Abu Sayyaf, officials said.

Official said troops were deployed in areas where the Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding the captives.

Just recently, a Vietnamese sailor kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf was reportedly found dead – his body riddled with bullets – on a village in Patikul town.

The cadaver, believed to be that of Tran Khac Dung, was recovered in the village of Buhanginan where army soldiers battled with the Abu Sayyaf on July 8. It was unknown whether Tran was killed during the fighting in the village where the military claimed to have recovered a body of slain militant.

The report cannot be independently confirmed and the military’s Western Mindanao Command did not give any statement whether the recovered cadaver of the militant was actually that of the Vietnamese hostage.

The fighting erupted in Patikul town after 2 kidnapped Filipino fishermen Reyjim Rocabo, 41 and Roel Leones, 37, who were both freed July 7 by the Abu Sayyaf, provided information to the military on the location of the militant group and its hostages. The information provided by the duo led troops to the hideout of Abu Sayyaf commander Almujer Yadah in Patikul.

The battle also killed a soldier and wounded 15 others from the 21st Infantry Battalion. Both Rocabo and Leones were crewmembers of FB Ramona 2 kidnapped in December 20 last year in the Celebes Sea. Their ship captain, Noel Besconde, was beheaded on April 13 by the Abu Sayyaf after his employer and family failed to pay ransom.

Another crewman, Roy Ramos, was freed in June in Talipao town. The Abu Sayyaf, which is still holding 16 foreigners and four other Filipinos, recently beheaded 2 Vietnamese sailors Hoang Thong and Hoang Va Hai after their government and families failed to pay ransom. Their decapitated bodies were recovered in the village of Tumahubong in Sumisip town in Basilan province.

The sailors were kidnapped on November 11 off Basilan along with four others seamen Phang Minh Tuan and Do Trung Hieu and Huang Vo, who was released last month by the Abu Sayyaf in Sumisip town. They are all crew members of the cargo ship MV Royal 16.

Newspapers in Tagalog

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.