6 Vietnamese sailors with Abu Sayyaf, says AFP
The Abu Sayyaf Group is holding six Vietnamese sailors abducted near Basilan last week, the military said on Wednesday.
“We have received reports coming from our field operations units that the Vietnamese sailors are being held by the Abu Sayyaf,” Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.
He could not confirm reports that the captives were brought to Basilan as supposedly reported by civilians there.
Arevalo said the information “is the subject of our further verification.”
The militants attacked a Vietnamese ship last week, taking its captain and five crew members near Basilan. Two of the crew members, one of them wounded, were able to escape.
Arevalo said the Vietnamese Embassy is helping authorities by providing an interpreter.
“The wounded crewmen will undergo debriefing and my understanding is that the Vietnamese Embassy would be taking part in the interview. They will help by providing an interpreter so we can get a clear picture of the situation,” he said.
As to the German national abducted last week, Arevalo said they still could not confirm whether it was the work of the Abu Sayyaf bandits although the group had already claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
“They can always claim but we have to rely on our own reports from the field with regard to confirmation. We do not want to be misled,” he said.
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