6 abducted by Abus still missing – PNP
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboang del Sur, Philippines — The military and the police have conflicting views as to whether or not there are still kidnap victims in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
While the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said there was no more hostage held by ASG after the death of Dutch bird watcher Ewold Horn, the Philippine National Police-led Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) said six people — two foreigners and four Filipinos — kidnapped by the bandit group were unaccounted for.
On Saturday, Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said all kidnap victims had been accounted for in Sulu province.
“Today, we say, there’s no more hostage in Sulu. So far, there is no proof of presence nor proof of life of any kidnap victim in Sulu,” Pabayo told the Inquirer by telephone.
He said the last remaining hostage was Horn, who was kidnapped in Tawi-Tawi in 2012. He was killed reportedly by his captors while trying to escape at the height of the encounter between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf at Barangay Pansul in Patikul, Sulu, on May 31.
Col. Gerry Besana, public affairs officer of Westmincom, also said their command had no record of any person still being held by the Abu Sayyaf.
“As far as Westmincom is concern, Horn was the last captive of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. It is zero now. There is no other hostage,” he said.
However, the AKG, based in this city, said it was still tracking the whereabouts of two foreigners and four Filipinos abducted by ASG.
The names of the kidnap victims are still listed on their white board at the AKG office here, a reminder that they still have to secure six hostages.
Police Maj. Arthur Valdez, an AKG officer, said that despite not having proof of life of these ASG hostages, they were still considered “missing.”
Valdez declined to give details on the remaining hostages but an AKG source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak to the media, said two Vietnamese and four Filipinos were still unaccounted for.
Early reports said six Vietnamese, all crew of Vietnam-registered cargo vessel “Royal 16,” were abducted by the ASG on Nov. 11, 2016, in the waters off Sibago Island in Basilan.
Two of the victims were beheaded, with their decapitated remains recovered in Sumisip town in Basilan on July 5, 2017. One victim escaped on June 16, 2017, while another was rescued by Task Force Basilan on Aug. 20, 2017. There had been no report on the whereabouts of the remaining two Vietnamese.
The Filipinos, who were all taken within the Zamboanga Peninsula, were identified as Dennis Cabadonga, Ronnie Bancale, Antonio Tan and Alejandro Bation.
Cabadonga, a businessman, was kidnapped in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte, on May 28, 2015. Bancale, a fisherman, was kidnapped in Basilan on Feb. 14, 2016, while Tan, 70, a businessman, was abducted in Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur, on March 23, 2016.
Bation, a fishpond operator, was kidnapped on July 16, 2018, in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. “For as long as [there is] no proof of death or life, they will stay in the list,” the AKG said.
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