ZAMBOANGA CITY – Abu Sayyaf militants have freed a Vietnamese seaman, but continue to hold on to 5 others sailors in Basilan province in southern Philippines.
The 28-year old Hoang Vo, a crew member of the cargo ship MV Royal 16, was recovered by soldiers on Friday in Sumisip town. The fate of his companions remains unknown, but the military’s Western Mindanao Command said air force planes and artillery fires pounded the Abu Sayyaf lair in the town.
Army Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the military, said Vo – a native of Nghệ An province - has a wound on his back and was immediately taken to hospital. She said troops who recovered Vo also found four automatic rifles, believed left behind by militants.
Abu Sayyaf fighters hijacked the Vietnamese cargo ship and seized 6 crewmen, including its captain in a daring attack on November 11, 2016 that left one sailor wounded.
The ship was sailing off the province when 10 gunmen on a speedboat intercepted it off Sibago Island and boarded the vessel and abducted the crewmen. The Abu Sayyaf is also holding over a dozen hostages in the restive region.
On June 15, security forces also killed 2 militants Hamid Mohammad and Altasil Lakbaoin in a firefight in Attubig Tanah village in Bongao town in Tawi-Tawi province. (Mindanao Examiner)
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