ONE of the five Indonesian hostages was killed by the Abu Sayyaf bandits as he tried to escape in the midst of a firefight with government forces in the hinterlands of Sulu, military officials said Thursday, October 1.
Lieutenant Colonel Ruben Guinolbay, commander of the 45th Infantry Battalion, said they recovered the cadaver of one of the five Indonesian hostages following a clash with the Abu Sayyaf bandits Tuesday afternoon in Maligay village, Patikul, Sulu.
Guinolbay said the troops recovered the hostage's cadaver some 300 meters away from the clash site while the troops were scouring the withdrawal route of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the kidnap victim had an opportunity to escape during the firefight, but was shot by the Abu Sayyaf bandits "based on reports from the ground."
But Vinluan said they have yet to ascertain the identity of the slain hostage before they will identify the victim.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits seized the five Indonesian hostages while they were fishing on January 16 this year in the waters between Tambisan and Kuala Meruap, Lahad Datu, Sabah, close to the Philippine sea border.
In earlier reports, they were identified as Arsyad Dahlan, 41, the fishing boat skipper; Arizal Kastamiran, 29; La Baa, 32; Riswanto Hayano, 27; and Edi Lawalopo, 53.
Vinluan said the troops are tracking down the fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits. (SunStar Zamboanga)