ONE of the 12 Vietnamese sailors the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has kidnapped successfully escaped as the government troops have pounded the lair of the bandits in Basilan province, a military official said Friday, June 16.
The Vietnamese sailor who escaped was identified as Hoang Vo, the second mate of the Vietnam-registered bulk carrier Royal 16, according to Joint Task Force Basilan Juvymas Uy.
Uy said Vo dashed to freedom at the height of an airstrike at the camp of ASG leader Furuji Indama around 8:30 a.m., Friday, in the boundaries of Sumisip and Ungkaya Pukan towns in Basilan.
"Vo, 28, and a resident of Nghe An, Vietnam, was found by our troops with a wound on his back," Uy said, citing the kidnapped victim was airlifted by an air ambulance and "is now in Zamboanga City."
The Abu Sayyaf bandits kidnapped Vo along with five other Vietnamese sailors when they hijacked the Royal 16 bulk carrier at 8.3 nautical miles southeast of Coco Island in Basilan province on November 11, 2016.
The Royal 16 bulk carrier, manned by 19 crewmen, was en route to Davao from Hai Phong in Vietnam when the Abu Sayyaf bandits, aboard on a speed boat, intercepted the vessel.
The other 13 crewmen who were left aboard the Royal 16 reported the incident to the authorities.
Vo’s five companions who remain in captivity included the Royal 16’s master, chief mate, third officer, bosun and assistant bosun.
Uy said troops continue to scour in search for the remaining five Vietnamese sailors in Basilan province.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captives 26 people, mostly foreigners in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
Of the total, 21 of them are in Sulu while the remaining five in Basilan.
They consist of 11 Vietnamese, seven Indonesians, a Dutch and seven Filipinos. (SunStar Philippines)