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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are said to be behind the kidnapping of four sailors within the vicinity of Celebes Sea in Sulu.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokesman Maj. Filemon I Tan, Jr. identified the missing crew members as Noel Besconde, the captain; Reyjim Rocabo, the Marine Diesel Mechanic (MDM); and crew members Roy Ramos and Roel Liones who are residents of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.
Their ship identified as FB Ramona 2 is a service-type vessel owned by Ramona Fishing Corporation.
Tan said FB Melissa 2, the sister ship of FB Ramona 2, made the last contact with the missing sailors around 3 a.m. Monday, informing them of their presence in Celebes Sea.
FB Melissa 2 then proceeded to the location and took them about three hours to reach the FB Ramona 2, only to find out that the four crew were already missing along with their VHF radio and Global Positioning System or GPS.
The Joint Task Force Sulu already deployed personnel to conduct search operation while the Naval Task Group Sulu has already adopted appropriate measures to locate the victims.
Sources said the ASG still has 18 foreign hostages and five local captives. (NONOY E. LACSON)