12 foreigners rescued off Maguindanao

Ferdinandh Cabrera
12 foreigners whose ship was hijacked are rescued by Marine troops off Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (UPDATE) – Marine troops rescued 12 foreigners from the sea Tuesday night, July 31, off Barangay Pura, Datu Blah Sinsuat town, Maguindanao, the military said.

Lt Col Chute Adecer, executive officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, said that a Marine rescue station in the area spotted 3 floating people thus their rescue attempt.

“Immediately we conducted search and rescue operation,” Adecer said. The Marines initialy rescued the 3, who later informed them about their 9 other companions. “We continued to look for [all of] them,” Adecer told Rappler.

Rescued were 6 Indonesians, 5 Malaysians and one Burmese. They are sailors transporting a cargo of dry goods from Indonesia.

They told investigators that their ship was hijacked on July 27 somewhere near Malaysia. On July 30, the armed hijackers ordered them to jump out of the ship with their life vests then threw two inflatable rafts to them before sailing away, said Balutan.

They said the “pirates” had apparently come from Indonesia.

They spent three days drifting in rubber rafts before being rescued by Philippine Marines, officials said.

The local government of Datu Blah Sinsuat town is now taking care of the foreigners. They were sent for treatment to a hospital on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

The military was trying to determine exactly where in the sea the two vessels, based in Sarawak, Malaysia, were attacked.

The waters of the southern Philippines are known to be frequented by armed groups including pirates, Muslim extremists who use kidnapping and extortion to raise funds and private armies of powerful politicians. – with reports from Agence-France Presse