Government forces rescue 3 kidnapped Indonesians in Tawi-Tawi

Government forces rescued three Indonesian kidnap victims in waters off Pasigan Island, South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi on Thursday evening, March 18, 2021.

“Based on the report submitted by Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, personnel from the Tandubas PNP immediately coordinated with the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 regarding the four individuals they rescued ashore around 10:30 p.m., same day,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. further stated that based on the initial verification by the personnel of the MBLT-6, three of the four rescued personalities were Indonesian nationals identified as kidnap victims Riswanto Bin Hayono, Arical Kastamiran, and Arsyad Bin Dahalan while the fourth one is a Filipino identified as a certain Sahud Salisim, a.k.a. Ben Wagas.

The said KVs are among the five Indonesian Nationals who worked under the Malaysian Fishing Firm and were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group in the waters off Tambisan, Malaysia on January 17, 2020. One of them was killed by their abductors while trying to escape during an encounter in Patikul, Sulu on September 29, 2020.

Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi said the terrorists are evading the ongoing intensive military operations in Sulu so they sailed to Tawi-Tawi bringing along the captives with them onboard a Jungkong. While sailing, the craft was hit by big waves and capsized.

“Another passenger of the said Jungkong was rescued by a passenger vessel along Silandat Island, South Ubian and this was identified as a certain Bensal Jakare of Indanan, Sulu,” said Brig. Gen. Rojas.

Accordingly, the three rescued kidnap victims and their missing comrade were accompanied by five of their abductors. Rescue and retrieval operations are being conducted to rescue the missing Indon KV and the other passengers of the capsized Jungkong.

“We already coordinated with the Indonesian Liaison Officer here in Bongao for the confirmation of the identity of the three rescued Indon KVs,” said Lt. Col. Benjie Pendon, Commanding Officer of the MBLT-6.

According to Joint Task Force Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales Sahud Salisim, a.k.a. Ben Wagas, is an ASG/KFRG member while Bensal Jakare’s involvement with the group is yet to be verified.

“We continuously bolstered our offensives to pressure the Abu Sayyaf Group to release the hostages which forced them to look for a safer refuge,” said Maj. Gen. Gonzales.

The rescued KVs are currently undergoing custodial debriefing facilitated by the MBLT-6 and Tandubas PNP. WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND