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2 Vietnamese hostages found headless in Basilan

By: AP, with reports from Francis T. Wakefield

The Philippine military says the decapitated bodies of two Vietnamese crewmen abducted last year by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have been found on the southern island of Basilan in a gruesome end to the sailors’ ordeal.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command says the bodies of Hoang Thong and Hoang Va Hai were discovered Wednesday by villagers in the town of Sumisip.

The two were among six crewmen of the Vietnamese cargo vessel MV Royal 16 taken by gunmen last November in seawaters off Basilan amid a wave of sea assaults that have alarmed the region’s leaders.

One of the six crewmen was rescued in June. Three others remain captive.

Lt. General Carlito G Galvez, Jr., the military’s regional commander, condemned the “barbaric” beheading.

“WestMinCom commiserates with the bereaved family and friends of the slain victims. In no way does the Abu Sayyaf Group represent our Muslim brothers who are true followers of the Islam,” said Galvez.

Six crew members of the said vessel were abducted November of last year namely: Pham Minh Tuan; Do Trung Hieu; Hoang Vo; Tran Khac Dung; Hoang Trung Thong; and Hoang Va Hai.

It can be recalled that on June 2017, operating troops of JTF Basilan while conducting combat operations rescued Vietnamese kidnapped victim Hoang Vo, 28, at the vicinity of So Kumonal, Sampinit Complex, Sumisip.

The Commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan Colonel Juvymax Uy said soldiers and policemen based in Basilan are still gathering information on the details of the incident.