DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Nov) — The Western Mindanao Command on Sunday turned over to a representative of the Vietnamese Embassy three Vietnamese crew members of a Marine vessel who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf on February 25 off Pearl Bank in Pangutaran, Sulu and rescued by government troops at around 7:45 a.m. on November 10 near Kang Tipayan Island in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi.
Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc and Nguten Quang Huy were turned over to Nguyen Duc Bien, the representative of the Vietnamese Embassy around 11 a.m. Sunday in Camp Navarro.
The Naval Forces Western Mindanao and the Joint Task Force Tawi-tawi rescued the three Vietnamese and also recovered the cadaver of another captive, Nguyin Huu Trong, who succumbed to a lingering illness shortly before the rescue.
A total of 17 crew members were on board Marine Vessel Giang Hai 5 when the Abu Sayyaf ambushed them at sea.
The WestMinCom said 10 were rescued by the troops, while the group of Xuan Vien was forcibly taken and transported by the bandits to mainland Sulu.
The November 10 rescue brought to 14 the total number of hostages rescued by government troops. Ten were rescued on February 25, the day of the seajacking, while three others were killed while attempting to escape from the Abu Sayyaf – two on February 25 while Tran Viet Van was killed by the Abu Sayyaf when attempting to escape from his captors last July 7 in Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu, said Capt. Jo-Anne Petinglay, chief of the WestMinCom Public Information Office.
The rescued victims underwent medical check-up at the military hospital inside WestMinCom.
As of November 12, seven foreigners and nine Filipinos are still held by the Abu Sayyaf in the hinterlands of Sulu, the WestMinCom said.
“Operations by our ground units continue to yield positive results as we relentlessly pursue the bandits to thwart their kidnapping ploys and rescue their victims,” Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said, as he commended the Joint Task Force Tawi-tawi and the Naval Forces Western Mindanao troops.
The cadaver of Nguyin Huu Trong, another Vietnamese will be brought to Manila to undergo autopsy.
The hostage survivors will fly back to their country after the needed procedures and documentations in Manila, WestMinCom said.
Also present during the turnover were the Commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Rear Admiral Rene Medina; NFWM Deputy Commander for Marine Operation Capt. Hernanie S Songano and NFWM Deputy for Fleet Operation Capt Caesar N Valencia. (MindaNews)