AN INDONESIAN fishing ship worker escaped his Abu Sayyaf captors and has been rescued by security forces, the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) reported on Friday, Dec. 7.
WesMincom said 35-year-old Usman Yusuf, who was abducted at the seawaters off Sempornah, Sabah, Malaysia aboard a Malaysian trawler vessel last Sept. 11, broke free from his abductors at Barangay Bual, Luuk, Sulu on Thursday morning.
Troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 and the Philippine Marine Ready Force Sulu under the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu, in coordination with the Sulu provincial police and intelligence units, then took hold of him.
The JTF Sulu has been on an intensified pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf, who are still holding six captives, three of whom are foreigners and the rest Filipinos.
The rescue of Mr. Suyuf, who has undergone a medical check-up and has been brought to the WesMinCom headquarters in Zamboanga City, happened on the same day that eight members of the bandit group surrendered to government forces.
In a separate statement, WesMinCom said the eight were residents of different parts of Sulu and under various Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders.
They turned over eight high-powered firearms,consisting of an M14 rifle, M16 A1, M1 Carbine rifle, and five US M1 Garand rifles.
The military said the “successful surrender was facilitated through the efforts of the different Community Support Program (CSP) Teams” of the 2nd Special Forces Batallionled by Lieutenant Colonel Jessie R. Montoya.
“With the conduct of Community Support Programs, we hope that more bandits will be encouraged to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law,” said WestMinCom Chief Arnel B. Dela Vega. — Marifi S. Jara