By Francis T. Wakefield
A Fleet-Marine team composed of sailors and marines under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Sulu successfully rescued on Thursday, March 23, two Malaysian hostages held-captive by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the seawaters off Kalinggalang Caluang near Pata island, Sulu Province.
The successful rescue happened at about 2 a.m. Thursday (March 23).
Rescued after eight months in captivity were Malaysians Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 62.
AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokeswoman Army Captain Jo-Ann D. Petinglay, said the two Malaysians were rescued as a result of focused military operation launched by combined forces of the Philippine Marine Ready Force Sulu led by Major Angcap, Marine Special Operations Group, and Marine Battalion Landing Teams 1 and 3 in Kalinggalang Caluang.
Both kidnap victims were immediately brought by the troops to the Sulu military station hospital for medical check-up and interview.
“The rescued kidnap victims are weak and in a sickly state when they were rescued by our troops. Military doctors are now attending to them as we speak in our hospital in Sulu,” said Western Mindanao Command chief Major General Carlito G Galvez, Jr.
Earlier, the marines received information that Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya with about 30 fully armed followers and two Malaysian hostages were hiding at the mangrove area of Barangay Karudong in Kalinggalang Caluang, Sulu.
Petinglay said this prompted the marines to focus their efforts at the reported area in order to rescue the victims.
“This accomplishment is a product of the combined efforts of our soldiers and the different stakeholders in putting pressure on the kidnappers for the past months,” Galvez said.
“Following the successful operation of the Marine troops in Capual Island last February 7, where eight Abu Sayyaf members under Misaya were killed, our troops on the ground have maximized their intelligence monitoring and have been closely pursuing the group of Misaya to safely rescue the hostages,” he added.
Galvez said WestMinCom troops are continuing pursuit against the kidnap for ransom groups to rescue the remaining kidnap victims and continue the pressure on the Abu Sayyaf to release their hostages and possibly for them to surrender to authorities.
Anjut and Sumas were among the five Malaysian crewmen of Tugboat Serudung 3 who were kidnapped on July 19, 2016 at the sea waters of Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah by the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Sibih Pissih.
They were reported missing after their tugboat and barge were recovered without crew members in Tanjung Labian, Lahad Datu Sabah.