The remains of Pham Minh Tuan, captain of the cargo ship MV Royal 16, were found in Sitio Kasulutan, Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo, Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, said yesterday. File
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The corpse of the remaining Vietnamese hostage of the Abu Sayyaf was recovered in Sulu on Friday.
The remains of Pham Minh Tuan, captain of the cargo ship MV Royal 16, were found in Sitio Kasulutan, Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo, Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, said yesterday.
“The operation that resulted in the recovery of Tuan’s remains was an initiative of the Sulu police, Joint Task Force Sulu and police Anti-Kidnapping Group in Mindanao,” Mijares said.
Tuan was reportedly executed by Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Indang Susukan in an encounter with soldiers of the 41st Infantry Battalion in Barangay Upper Binuang, Talipao last Sept. 7.
“He was buried somewhere in Jolo…to mislead authorities,” Mijares said.
Local officials in Basilan said Tuan’s captors brought him to the province, but transferred him to Sulu due to pressure from Yakan villagers who helped the police and military fight the Abu Sayyaf.
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“Maybe the bandits thought they would get a big ransom in exchange for the release of the boat captain,” a source told The STAR.
Mijares said Tuan’s remains would be turned over to the Vietnamese embassy.
Tuan and five crewmembers of the cargo vessel were taken near Sibago island in Basilan on Nov. 11, 2016.
Hoang Vo, 22, escaped from his captors and was rescued last June 16 following an airstrike that targeted the hideout of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Furuji Indama.
The bandits beheaded Hoang Trung Thong and Hoang Van Hai. Their remains were recovered in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip town on July 5.
On July 8, the military found a bullet-riddled body believed to be that of Tran Khac Dung, alias Tran Viet Van, in Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul.
Do Trung Huie was rescued on Mataja island in Basilan last August.
3 Sayyaf men killed in clash
Meanwhile, three Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in an encounter with soldiers in Panamao town also on Friday.
Members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 clashed with around 20 bandits under the group of Radulan Sahiron in Sitio Buling-Buling, Barangay Suh at about 2:30 p.m.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, identified the fatalities as Peping Jamalul, brother-in-law of Sahiron; Aldi Abtahi, son of sub-leader Amlon, and Nelson Rajak.
Sobejana said soldiers recovered an M16 rifle and a .45-caliber pistol from the slain bandits.
Sobejana said they launched the operation after local government officials and villagers alerted them on the location of the bandits.
“We are grateful… to all peace-loving Tausugs who are positively responding to our call to end terrorism in Sulu,” he said.
Sobejana expressed optimism that the remaining bandits would be neutralized with the support of local government and community leaders.
Three foreigners and seven Filipinos remain in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.
Additional battalions were recently deployed in Sulu to finish off the bandits and rescue their remaining hostages. – With Roel Pareño