POLICE forces have rescued two Chinese nationals kidnapped together with a Filipino man by Abu Sayyaf bandits in the island province of Basilan, a police official said Saturday.

Basilan Police Director Antonio Mendoza said the hostages -- Zi Shun Lu alias Oscar Lu, 51, and Bo Shung Tan alias Michael Tan, 27 -- were rescued around 8:20 p.m. Friday in the village of Benembengan, Sumisip town.

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Lu and Tan, both from Guanzhou Province, mainland China, were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf bandits together with Marquez Singson, 36, a resident of Maligue village, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.

The bandits beheaded Singson, whose head was recovered in the evening of December 9 at a public plaza in downtown Isabela City, after his employer failed to pay the initial ransom demand of P1.5 million.

Lu, Tan and Singson are employees of Hi-Tech Plywood firm owned by Chinese businessman George Tan of Isabela City. They were kidnapped on November 10, 2009 by 30 bandits who broke into the compound of the plywood firm in Barangay Marketsite, Maluso town.

But Mendoza said Saturday that the kidnappers were forced to abandon the hostages, citing they were continuously pursued when they were sighted by combined police forces composed of Special Action Forces (SAF) and Philippine Anti-Crime Emergency Response (Pacer).

The kidnappers are still being pursued by both the police and military following the decision of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) to launch a rescue operation.

Mendoza said Lu and Tan, who he described to be “very weak,” were admitted in one of the hospitals in Zamboanga City for recovery.

“They were very weak when recovered by the troops,” Mendoza said, adding that Lu was dehydrated.

“Hindi sila nakakakain at nakakainom ng tubig sa bundok,” he said. (Bong Garcia)