Philippines nab four suspects behind kidnapping of Vietnamese sailors

By Agencies   July 18, 2017 | 06:02 am PT
They are believed to have taken part in the kidnapping by the militant group Abu Sayyaf last November.

Philippine police have arrested four suspected members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf, believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Vietnamese sailors last November, according to Philstar.

All four suspects were arrested during a raid on Monday night in Barangay Ulame, Lamitan City in the southern island province of Basilan, the news site reported Nixon Muksan, director of Basilan Provicial Police Office, as saying.

The suspects were identified as Taha Upao, Bryan Upao, Ibrahim Akhmad and Ibno Akhmad. They reportedly did not resist when arrested.

An investigation found that the four suspects participated in the Abu Sayyaf group's hijack of Vietnamese cargo ship MV Royal 16 off the coast of Basilan Island last November. The group then took six Vietnamese crewmen hostage, while the vessel and the other 13 crew members were released.

Out of the six kidnapped sailors, Hoang Vo, 28, managed to escape and was rescued by Filipino troops last month. However sailors Hoang Trung Thong, Hoang Van Hai and Tran Viet Van were executed by the militant group earlier this month.

Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnapping and beheading its hostages unless ransom payments are made.

German national Jurgen Kantner, 70, was beheaded in February after the kidnappers’ demand for 30 million pesos ($600,000) was not met.

Last year, the group also beheaded two Canadian hostages.

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