February 24, 2017
ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Abu Sayyaf failed to stage a kidnapping anew targeting foreign cargo vessel in the high seas of the southern Philippines.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, on Friday said the naval component of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi has thwarted the kidnapping attempt by the Abu Sayyaf in the waters of Tawi-Tawi province.
Medina said Navy ships were sent to respond to a distress call from a Panamanian-flag carrier, M/V Dong Hae Star, at 10 am. February 22.
Medina said the M/V Dong Hae Star, reported to the Littoral Monitoring Station in Bongao,Tawi-Tawi that suspicious black speedboats with five persons each on board were pursuing them in the sea waters off Pearl Bank, Tawi-Tawi.
He said the Panamanian-flag vessel transmitted the distress call was transiting in the Sulu Sea from China to Indonesia.
He said the M/V Dong Hae Star transmitted a radio message that the speedboats stopped from chasing them and maneuvered to the open sea upon sighting the responding Navy ships.
Naval Forces Western Mindanao has deployed additional vessels to the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi and Sulu for maritime interdiction and to support the law enforcement operations in the area.
Medina said the station in Bongao continue to monitor vessels transiting in Tawi-Tawi as well as continue to patrol the area to ensure safe passage.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding captive 33 people, including 27 foreigners and six Filipinos, who were separately seized.
The hostages are 12 Vietnamese; seven Indonesians; five Malaysians; six Filipinos; a Dutch; a German; and a Korean.
The Abu Sayyaf is threatening to execute a German on Sunday if ransom of P30 million is not paid before 3 pm that day. DMS
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