ZAMBOANGA CITY (Updated) -- Military officials said they rescued Thursday, March 23, two Malaysian sailors held captive for eight months by terror group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Chief Carlito Galvez Jr. identified the rescued hostages as Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 32.
Anjut and Sumas were rescued by Marine Special Operations Group backed by personnel from the Marine Battalion Landing Teams 1 and 3 around 2 a.m. Thursday off Kalinggalang Caluang near the island town of Pata, Sulu.
Galvez said they were taken to a military hospital in Jolo, Sulu, for medical check-up and interview.
“The rescued kidnap victims are weak and in a sickly state when they were rescued by our troops. Military doctors are now attending to them as we speak in our hospital in Sulu,” he said.
The Wesmincom chief added that prior to the rescue, the Marines received information that Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya and about 30 fully armed followers and two Malaysian hostages were hiding at the mangrove area of Barangay Karudong in Kalinggalang Caluang, Sulu.
This prompted government troops to focus their efforts at the reported area in order to rescue the victims.
“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,” Galvez said.
He added the troops are still pursuing the bandits to rescue the remaining hostages and to pressure them to release the hostages and possibly, to surrender to authorities.
Anjut and Sumas were among the five Malaysian crewmen of Tugboat Serudung 3 who were kidnapped on July 19, 2016 at the sea waters of Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah by the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Sibih Pissih.
The rescue of the two has brought down the number of hostages to 31, including 23 foreigners.
The hostages still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf include 11 Vietnamese, seven Indonesians, three Malaysians, one Dutch, one Korean, and eight Filipinos.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorists survive mostly on ransom kidnappings, extortion and other acts of banditry, targeting slow-moving tugboats in the busy sea bordering the southern Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. (With PNA/AP)