ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have killed one of the five Indonesian fishermen they are holding hostage in Sulu, military officials said Thursday.
Lt. Col. Ruben Guinolbay, commander of the 45th Infantry Battalion, said they recovered the cadaver of one of the five Indonesian hostages following a clash with ASG bandits on Tuesday afternoon.
“Our troops were in pursuit of the fleeing local terrorist group members (ASG bandits) following an encounter when they recovered the cadaver of the slain kidnap victim,” Guinolbay said in a statement.
He said the troops were scouring the enemy withdrawal route, about 300 meters from the encounter site along Barangay Maligay in Patikul, Sulu, when they recovered the cadaver of the slain hostage.
“Based on facial recognition, our intelligence officer identified the kidnap victim as one of the five Indonesian kidnap victims; however, the name is being withheld for further confirmation,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu commander.
Gonzales added that the victim’s remains will be transported to Zamboanga City for further confirmation.
Citing reports from the ground, Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said the victim tried to escape during the encounter.
He added that they have yet to “reconfirm” the victim’s identity before revealing it.
The five Indonesian hostages were seized by the ASG bandits while they were fishing on January 16 this year, in the waters between Tambisan and Kuala Meruap, Lahad Datu, Sabah, close to the Philippine sea border.
In earlier reports, they were identified as Arsyad Dahlan, 41, the fishing boat skipper; Arizal Kastamiran, 29; La Baa, 32; Riswanto Hayano, 27; and, Edi Lawalopo, 53.
The troops are now tracking down the ASG bandits. PNA