ZAMBOANGA CITY: The military presented on Monday the five kidnapped Filipino fishing crew recovered by soldiers at a remote village in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu.
Officials said the fishermen – Vergel Arquino, from Davao City; Jushua Ybanez; Emo Fausto; Junald Minalang and Spriano Sordid, all from Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur – were recovered Friday on Languyan Island.
The men were crew of the fishing boat Danvil 8 kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on October 14 off Pangutaran Island in the Sulu Sea.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said security forces found the opportunity to rescue the victims after learning their captors were confused and on the run because of continuing focused military operations in the area.
“The timing was critical since the captors may shoot the victims if they will know about the plan,” Medina said.
Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, said the successful rescue was made possible because of the captors’ loose security.
Both officials did not say if soldiers made any arrest, but apparently troops recovered the fishermen troops after their captors abandoned them.
The military did not release details of the rescue. It was also in Languyan where security forces recovered this month three Vietnamese sailors – Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc and Nguten Quang Huy – including the body of another seaman Nguyin Huu Trong who died while in captivity.
Security officials did not say how the Vietnamese were rescued or whether the hostages had been freed for ransom. The sailors were among 17 crew of cargo ship MV Giang Hai 5 the ASG hijacked on February 25 while sailing off of Pangutaran Island. The bandits killed two of the crew while attempting to escape while soldiers recovered the rest.