2 Coast Guard personnel rescued from Abu Sayyaf
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – The two Coast Guard personnel kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Zamboanga Del Norte in May were rescued amid intense firefight between the military and the kidnap-for-ransom group, according to Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo.
"They are now under the custody of Task Force Sulu. We plan to bring them to Zamboanga City later," Balilo told Rappler on Thursday morning.
Seaman 2nd Class Gringo Villaruz and Seaman 1st Class Rod Pagaling were abducted in May on Aliguay Island in Dapitan City and brought to Sulu province, along with abducted village chief Rodolfo Buligao.
Buligao was beheaded by the kidnap-for-ransom group last week.
“Villaruz is okay, but he is weak. Pagaling sustained bruises,” said Balilo.
The military on Wednesday intensified military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu to rescue the Coast Guard personnel. At least 15 rebels were reportedly killed.
Villaruz and Pagalin were able to flee their abductors, who scampered to escape the firefight with the military.
Armed Forces spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato said Villaruz was found first. He then led the Marines where he and Pagaling got separated. He was also found unharmed.
"They were able to escape during the encounter and then they were rescued later," said Detoyato.
The military earlier identified their captors as Abu Sayyaf sub-commanders Yasser Igasan, Anggah Adji, Jul Aksan and Alden Bagade. – Rappler.com