Troops capture Abu Sayyaf hijacker
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines–A suspected Islamic extremist had been wounded and captured when soldiers caught up with members of the Abu Sayyaf group that hijacked a cargo vessel off Basilan on Thursday, the military said.
The rest of the Islamists, who seized Capt. Aurelio Agacac and Chief Engr. Laurencio Tiro when they hijacked Panamanian-flagged MV Super Shuttle Roro 9 near Sibago island, managed to flee, said Major General Carlito Galvez Jr., the commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
Soldiers responding to a distress call from the hijacked vessel engaged the suspects in a firefight in Muhammad Ajul town, also in Basilan late Thursday, said Galvez.
“We tried to rescue them and there was a gunfight and one of the abductors had been captured,” Galvez said, without identifying the captured suspect.
He said the operation was continuing in Muhammad Ajul and nearby areas as of Friday.
The fresh abduction a few hours after the military announced it rescued Malaysians Tayudin Anjut, 45; and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 62; after 8 months in captivity.
The two were among the five crew of Tugboat Serudung 3 seized off Lahad Datu in Sabah by Abu Sayyaf subleader Sibih Pissih in July last year.
Sumas later told reporters here that he and Anjut had been separated from their three companions–Fandy Bakran, 26; Mohamad Jumadil Rahim, 23; and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32–and they didn’t know where they were.
Col. Cirilito Sobejana, the commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, said the group that held Sumas and Anjut were on the run when soldiers chanced upon them in a mangrove area in Kalinggalang Caluang town.
“They were supposed to be turned over to another sub-commander. When the (extremists) sensed our troops, they abandoned the two and we were able to rescue them,” Sobejana added.
The two Malaysians were being treated here, he said.
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