Military turns over recovered hostages to Indonesian authorities
Two hostages recovered by government forces last Thursday were turned over to Indonesian authorities last Friday.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said during the turnover Sarapuddin Koni and Sawal Maryam were received by Colonel Asep Saefudin, Indonesian defense attach?, and Captain Nyoman Joko Gunawan, of the International Monitoring Team.
She said present during the turnover were Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command, Captain Toribio Adaci, Jr., deputy commander of the WestMinCom, Colonel Fernando Reyeg, chief of the Unified Command Staff of the WestMinCom; Inspector Joseph Bagsao and Inspector Mike Diaz, representatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Group.
Petinglay said based on their data the Abu Sayyaf are still holding a total of 18 hostages.
With the recovery of the two Indonesian kidnap victims, Medina assured that the military will intensify its effort to rescue the remaining kidnap victims.
"Rest assured that our efforts on the ground will be intensified as we continue our combat and intelligence operations to locate and rescue the rest of the hostages in Sulu," he said.
Koni and Maryam, both crew members of a Malaysian trawler were recovered by the government troops in a checkpoint operation Barangay Bunot, Indanan, Sulu.
The victims were abducted by five Abu Sayyaf Group members on Marabong waters near Kunah District in Sabah on November 19, 2016. Robina Asido/DMS