DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 March) – Two Malaysian crew members kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf eight months ago were rescued at 2 a.m. Thursday in Kalinggalang Caluang near Pata Island, Sulu, the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said.
A press release from the WestMinCom’s Public Information Office said a Fleet-Marine team composed of sailors and Marines under the Joint Task Force Sulu “successfully rescued” Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim bin Sumas, 62, during a “focused military operation” launched by combined elements of the Philippine Marine Ready Force Sulu, Marine Special Operations Group, and Marine Battalion Landing Teams 1 and 3 in Kalinggalang Caluang.
Anjut and Sumas were among five Malaysian crewmen of Tugboat Serudung 3 who were kidnapped on July 19, 2016 on the seawaters of Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah by the group under Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Sibih Pissih. They were reported missing after their tugboat and barge were recovered without them in Tanjung Labian, Lahad Datu Sabah.
Prior to Thursday’s rescue, the Marines received information that Abu Sayyaf 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 the Marines to focus their efforts at the reported area to rescue the victims,” the WestMinCom said.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, WestMinCom spokesperson, told MindaNews that according to the intelligence information they received, the Abu Sayyaf were supposed to have transferred the two hostages to Pata Island.
The rescued victims were immediately brought to the Sulu military station hospital for medical check-up and interview.
Major General Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said the kidnap victims are “weak and in a sickly state when they were rescued by our troops” and military doctors attended to them in the station hospital in Sulu.
“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,” he said.
He said the troops have been closely pursuing Misaya’s group since February 7 when eight Abu Sayyaf members under Misaya were killed in Capual Island.
Petinglay said pursuit operations are ongoing to rescue the three other Malaysian captives. (MindaNews)