GOVERNMENT troops running after kidnappers of two Chinese nationals have captured two Abu Sayyaf bandits in the island province of Basilan, the military reported Friday.

The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) reported that the two bandits were captured following a clash with members of the Abu Sayyaf group around 4:55 p.m. Thursday in the village of Cabengbeng, Sumisip town.

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The Wesmincom did not release the captured bandits' identities, except in saying they are followers of bandit leader Whymz Wakil, who is a former worker of Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Development Cooperative Incorporated (Tarbci).

The troops from the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion have also recovered an M-79 grenade launcher from the two bandits, who were placed under tactical interrogation.

According to Wesmincom, the troops had been pursuing the Abu Sayyaf bandits to rescue the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in the evening of November 10 from a plywood factory in Maluso town.

Still being held captive are Zi Shun Lu alias Oscar Lu, 51, and Bo Shung Tan alias Michael Tan, 27, both from Guanzhou Province, mainland China. They were kidnapped together with Marquez Singson, 36.

The Abu Sayyafs beheaded Singson after the plywood factory owner failed to pay the initial P1.5-million ransom demand.

Rescue operations were launched after all peaceful means exhausted by the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) yielded negative results.

Basilan Governor Jum Akbar favors the rescue operations but urged the troops to take into consideration the safety of the hostages.