Philippine military photos show Vietnamese sailors Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc and Nguten Quang Huy while being presented by Rear Admiral Rene Medina, of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, to Nguyen Duc Bien, of the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who flew to Zamboanga to receive the crew members of MV Giang Hai 5 who were recovered by Filipino soldiers on November 10, 2017 on the island of Languyan in Tawi-Tawi province. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine military on Sunday handed over to Vietnam three of its kidnapped citizens recovered by troops on the remote southern province of Tawi-Tawi.
It also turned over the remains of another kidnapped Vietnamese sailor Nguyin Huu Trong who allegedly died in captivity due to a lingering illness. The trio – Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc and Nguten Quang Huy – were presented by Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the regional navy commander, to Nguyen Duc Bien, of the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who flew to Zamboanga to receive the sailors.
The three men were crew members of the cargo ship MV Giang Hai 5 kidnapped along with over a dozen others in February while sailing off Sulu Archipelago. They are expected to be presented to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc who is in Manila for the ASEAN summit.
Journalists were not invited to the handover of the sailors at the Western Mindanao Command and security officials also did not provide details of the so-called special operations launched by the military on Friday on Languyan Island that resulted in the recovery of the Vietnamese.
But Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, said marines and navy forces were involved in the operations. “Through the operations conducted by our marines and navy, we successfully recovered the Vietnamese hostages off Tawi-Tawi waters, and we mean to intensify our offensives to pressure the bandits to yield,” he said in a statement released the same day the hostages had been freed.
It was unknown whether the sailors had been freed in exchange for ransom or not. No one among the officials gave details of the “special operations”, but there had been no report either of clashes between security and Abu Sayyaf forces on the island. There was no report of any arrest made by soldiers.
Two of the crewmen were also killed by the Abu Sayyaf while attempting to escape during the hijacking while the rest had been recovered by soldiers. The recovery of the sailors coincided with President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Vietnam for the APEC summit. The Abu Sayyaf is still holding 7 foreigners and 9 Filipinos. (Mindanao Examiner)
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