By Francis Wakefield
Two Indonesians held as hostages by the Abu Sayyaf for almost 10 months were rescued by the military shortly after an encounter in Talipao, Sulu, on Thursday morning, which left five bandits killed and the wounding of five soldiers.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the rescued hostages as Saparuddin Koni and Sawal Maryam.
Sobejana said at about 6 a.m. Thursday, troops from the 41st Infantry Battalion under JTF Sulu encountered an estimated 20 ASG members under Idang Susukan at Brgy. Upper Binuang, Talipao, Sulu.
Sobejana said the firefight resulted in the killing of five ASG members (based on body count) and recovery of three high powered firearms.
Unfortunately, five soldiers were slightly wounded in the encounter.
At about 6:30 a.m. the same day, troops from JTF Sulu intercepted/recovered the two Indonesian nationals while on board a Tamaraw FX at Brgy. Bunot, Indanan Sulu.
The two kidnap victims were brought to KHTB (Kuta Heneral Teofilo Bautista) Station Hospital for medical examination.
Sobejana said custodial debriefing will be conducted on the two Indonesians at the JTF headquarters in Brgy. Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.
Sobejana said the two Indonesians were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf while on board a boat in the waters of Sabah, Malaysia, in November 19, 2016.
“Okay naman sila, they are in good condition. Kailangan lang sila suriin ng ating mga doctors at ito ay part of our procedure…iyong medical examination dahil nasa puder sila ng Abu Sayyaf for the past 10 months,” Sobejana said.
Sobejana said operations are ongoing to rescue the remaining hostages still under the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.