A Philippine military photo released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner shows Malaysian sailors Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim bin Sumas, 62, shortly after troops recovered them on March 23, 2017 in the town of Kalingalang Caluang town in Sulu province.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine soldiers on Thursday recovered two Malaysian sailors kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf off Sabah in Malaysia, officials said.
Officials said the two seamen - Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim bin Sumas, 62, - were abandoned by the Abu Sayyaf in the coastline of Kalingalang Caluang town in Sulu after seeing soldiers. The duo was part of a group of 5 sailors kidnapped in July last year, according to Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.
“They were immediately taken to a military base in the capital town of Jolo where medical doctors examined them. They are okay, although weak and tired from their ordeal in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf,” she told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner, adding, the sailors were spotted by soldiers who were tracking down Abu Sayyaf rebels in the town.
The Abu Sayyaf, under Alhabsy Misaya and Sibih Pissih, demanded at least P100 million ransoms for the safe release of all Malaysian sailors.
Major General Carlito Galvez, the regional military commander, ordered troops to intensify their operations against the Abu Sayyaf and to rescue other Asian sailors being held hostage by the jihadist group allied with the Islamic State.
“Troops are continuing pursuit operations 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,” Galvez said.
Just recently, security forces killed a 48-year old Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Buchoy Hassan linked to the spate of ransom kidnappings in Sabah following a firefight in the Tawi-Tawi near the Malaysian border.
Hassan, who was known for his aliases Black and Bocoi, had been implicated by Philippine and Malaysian authorities to November 2013 kidnapping of Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei, 58, – and freed 2 months later in Sulu province after paying huge ransom – at Pulau Pom Pom off Sabah’s Semporna town. Chang’s 57-year old husband Hsu Li Min was killed during the kidnapping.
Soldiers and policemen recovered Hassan’s M16 automatic rifle and seized 5 speedboats and several outboard engines, believed being used by the Abu Sayyaf in cross-border raids in Sabah.
The military said that aside from kidnappings, Hassan used his share of the ransoms to buy crystal meth and controlled the illegal drug trade in Tawi-Tawi, and recruited members for his nefarious activities.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered security forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups operating in the region and largely blamed by authorities for the spate of terror attacks and beheadings, including ransom kidnappings.
Last month, the Abu Sayyaf, which is actively operating in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, beheaded a 70-year old kidnapped German yachter Jurgen Kantner after his family failed to raise P30 million ransom demanded by the small, but the mostly notorious jihadist group in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)