Vietnamese fishermen rescued after nine-month hostage ordeal in the Philippines

By Staff reporters   November 13, 2017 | 10:10 am GMT+7
Vietnamese fishermen rescued after nine-month hostage ordeal in the Philippines
Giang Hai marine vessel, whose four crew members have been rescued from militant group Abu Sayyaf. Photo by VnExpress

Four of them were taken hostage by militant group Abu Sayyaf in February, but one died of sickness before the rescue.

Filipino troops rescued three Vietnamese fishermen and recovered the body of another from Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf during a special operation on Friday, according to official sources.

The troops were able to track down the bandits and launch the rescue operation at 7.45 a.m local time near Kang Tipayan Island in the Sulu archipelago, Filipino media reported, citing local officials.

The Vietnamese embassy in Manila has confirmed the news, naming the rescued fishermen as Bui Xuan Vien, Bui Duc Trung and Nguyen Quang Huy.

The other fisherman, Nguyen Huu Truong, had died of sickness, it said, as cited by Saigon Giai Phong newspaper.

Procedures are being completed to return the fishermen to Vietnam.

The victims were all crew members of Vietnamese vessel Giang Hai, and were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf bandits off Sulu in February.

Of the 17 crew members on board, two were killed while attempting to escape and ten were rescued by Filipino troops, while the remaining four were taken hostage.

No ransom was paid.

Another group of six Vietnamese crew members were taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf in November. One of them escaped and was rescued by Filipino troops in June, but three were beheaded in July.

Abu Sayyaf has become notorious for kidnappings over the past 15 years and has earned millions of dollars in ransoms. They have acquired modern weapons, high-powered boats and communications equipment.

The militants were in the past linked to Al Qaeda and have voiced support for Islamic State.

According to the Filipino military, the group is still holding seven foreigners and nine Filipinos hostage in Sulu.