ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/14 August) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed a newly retrained Marine battalion to Sulu as pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandits who are still holding captive five persons continue, Lt. Col. Gamal Hayudini, chief of the 4th Civil Relations Group, said.
The five remaining captives include Indian and Malaysian nationals and three Filipinos including a midwife.
Hayudini said the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 (MBLT-6) headed by Lt. Col. Romy Dolojan, arrived Saturday in Jolo, the capital town of Sulu, after a seven-month retraining.
Hayudini said the MBLT-6 will be placed under the command of the 3rd Marine Brigade headed by Col. Remigio Valdez.
The MBLT-6 will replace MBLT-5, which will soon be redeployed to the province of Tawi-Tawi, Hayudini said.
He said the retraining and rotation of marine troops is in consonance with the Philippine Marine Corps Standard Operating Procedure for the improvement of personnel’s tactical skills.
The Marines stationed in the province of Sulu in coordination with the police forces are continuously tracking down the whereabouts of the five victims kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in separate occasions.
The victims are: Mohammad Nasaruddin Bin Saidin, 38, a Malaysian gecko trader; Biju Kolara Veetil, 36, an Indian national married to a Sulu native; Renato Panisales and Wennie Ferrer, a boat captain and assistant engineer, respectively, of Mega fishing firm; and, Evangeline Taverisma, 55, a midwife.
Nasaruddin was kidnapped on May 8 in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan town while Veetil, was kidnapped on June 22 in Barangay Tempok, Patikul municipality.
Panisales and Ferrer were kidnapped while they were fishing on March 19 near Menes Island, Panglima Tahil town while Taverisma was seized on August 3 in Barangay Tagbak, Indanan municipality.
On July 28, seven Marines were killed, two of them beheaded, during an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu. (MindaNews)