MANILA–Fleet-Marine units under Joint Task Force Sulu have successfully rescued two Malaysian seafarers from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Pata, Sulu Thursday early morning.
The rescue took place around 2 a.m. off the seawaters of Kalinggalang Caluang near Pata island, in the said province.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (WMC) spokesperson, identified the rescued Malaysian as Tayudin Anjut, 45 and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 62.
The two were rescued by combined elements of the Philippine Marine Ready Force Sulu led by Major Angcap, Marine Special Operations Group, and Marine Battalion Landing Teams 1 and 3 after eight months of captivity.
Both victims were immediately brought by the troops to the Sulu military station hospital for medical check-up and interview.
“The rescued kidnap victims are weak and in a sickly state when they were rescued by our troops. Military doctors are now attending to them as we speak in our hospital in Sulu,” WMC head Major Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said.
Earlier, the Marines received information that ASG sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya with about 30 fully armed followers and two Malaysian hostages were hiding at the mangrove area of Barangay Karudong in Kalinggalang Caluang, Sulu.
This prompted government troops to focus their efforts at the reported area in order to rescue the victims.
“This accomplishment is a product of the combined efforts of our soldiers and the different stakeholders in putting pressure on the kidnappers for the past months,” Galvez said.
“Following the successful operation of the Marine troops in Capual Island last Feb. 7, where eight Abu Sayyaf members under Misaya were killed, our troops on the ground have maximized their intelligence monitoring and have been closely pursuing the group of Misaya to safely rescue the hostages,” he added.
“WMC troops are continuing pursuit against the kidnap for ransom groups to rescue the remaining kidnap victims and continue the pressure on the Abu Sayyaf to release their hostages and possibly for them to surrender to authorities,” the WMC chief stressed.
Anjut and Sumas were among the five Malaysian crewmen of Tugboat Serudung 3 who were kidnapped on July 19, 2016 at the sea waters of Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah by the group of ASG sub-leader Sibih Pissih.
They were reported missing after their tugboat and barge were recovered without crew members in Tanjung Labian, Lahad Datu Sabah.