By Francis Wakefield
Islamist militants have beheaded two Vietnamese sailors they held hostage for eight months.
Colonel Juvymax Uy, Commander of Joint Task Force Basilan said the bodies of Hoang Thong and Hoang Va Hai were discovered by residents at about 5:40 a.m. yesterday in Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip, Basilan.
The two were among six crew members of MV Royal16 Vietnamese cargo vessel who were forcibly taken last November 11, 2016 at the seawaters southeast of Sibago Island, Basilan Province.
“We grieve and we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of another kidnap victims in Basilan Province. For months now, many sectors in the society, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP exhausted all efforts to rescue these kidnap victims who are still in the hands of the ASG,” said Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez Jr. said.
“WestMinCom commiserates with the bereaved family and friends of the slain victims. In no way does the Abu Sayyaf Group represent our Muslim brothers who are true followers of the Islam,” he added.
“This is a desperate measure of the Abu Sayyaf Group because they see they have no gains from their kidnap-for-ransom activity,” Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, WestMinCom spokesperson told AFP.
Last month, troops of JTF Basilan rescued another Vietnamese sailor Hoang Vo, 28, at the vicinity So Kumonal, Sampinit Complex, Sumisip.
The ASG, originally a loose network of militants formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, has splintered into factions, with some continuing to engage in banditry and kidnappings.
One faction has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, with members among those holding parts of Marawi.
The ASG is still holding 22 hostages, including 16 foreigners, according to Petinglay. (With a report from AFP)
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