ZAMBOANGA CITY – Government soldiers rescued three Vietnamese sailors and retrieved the remains of another on Friday, November 10, more than eight months after Abu Sayyaf bandits seized them in the Sulu Sea.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, said the Vietnamese sailors were rescued in a special operation around 7:45 a.m. Friday near Kang Tipayan Island, Langunyan, Tawi-Tawi.
Medina identified those rescued as Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc, and Nguten Quang Huy. Troops also recovered the remains of Nguyin Huu Trong, who died in captivity.
They were immediately transported to Zamboanga City for proper disposition and medical treatment.
The rescued hostages were among the 17 crewmen of M/V Giang Hai 5 the Abu Sayyaf bandits have hijacked on February 19, this year, near Pearl Bank, Pangutaran, Sulu.
Government troops rescued 10 of the 17 crew while the bandits killed two of them when they tried to escape and took the remaining five to mainland Sulu.
Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief, said rescue operations on the remaining hostages will continue.
Galvez disclosed there are still 15 hostages -- seven foreigners and nine Filipinos -- in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.