- Armed men killed a crew of a Vietnamese cargo ship in Sulu
- Seven others were also reportedly abducted
- The PCG suspects ASG to be behind the latest kidnapping incident
A crew member of a Vietnamese ship was killed by gunmen off Sulu waters on Sunday evening, February 19. This was confirmed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Seven (7) others were also abducted after a group of armed men stormed the MV Giang Hai carrying 25 people on board near Baguan Island in Tawi-Tawi, around 17 nautical miles north of Pearl Bank in Sulu around 7:00 pm.
PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said in a media briefing on Monday that 17 of the crew were rescued from the vessel they found floating in the area where the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group is believed to be operating.
“The team conducted joint maritime patrol in the vicinity waters off Baguan Island and subsequently rescued 17 Vietnamese on board, with one dead,” said the PCG official in a statement.
“Accordingly, the seven other crew members were abducted by unidentified armed men and were brought to undetermined location,” Balilo added.
According to Balilo, they were informed by the Vietnamese Coast Guard about the incident and immediately launched a rescue operation in Taganak, Tawi-tawi.
“The PCG has issued a notice to Mariners and has organized a pursuit operation in coordination with the military and police units in the area,” he said.
While no group has come forward to claim responsibility, authorities suspected the Abu Sayyaf could be behind the latest kidnapping incident.
The terrorist group is currently holding 27 hostages; said to be Malaysian and Indonesian sailors.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese vessel was towed by PCG and is currently docked at the Taganak anchorage area since Monday.