ILIGAN CITY – A leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) holding an Indonesian hostage was captured by troops of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi following an encounter in Barangay Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi last Saturday.
The military said the captured ASG leader, Majan Sahidjuan, alias “Apo Mike,” is said to be responsible for the kidnapping of five Indonesian fishermen on Jan. 16, 2020 in Tambisan Island, Malaysia, an island in the Sulu Sea.
Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 under Lt. Col. Venjie Pendon received a report regarding the presence of fully armed men in Barangay Kalupag Island.
Troops proceeded to the area, triggering an encounter in which Sahidjuan was wounded and abandoned by his comrades.
“He was abandoned by his two comrades who fled bringing along the remaining Indonesian kidnap victim with them,” said Pendon.
Sahidjuan and his group had an encounter with government forces on Sept. 29, 2020 in a remote barangay in Patikul, Sulu in which one of the Indonesian fishermen and an ASG member were killed.
The remaining four kidnap victims were on board a locally made motorboat with five of their kidnappers when it capsized in the waters off Pasigan Island in Tawi-Tawi due to huge waves last Thursday.
Three of the four kidnap victims – Riswanto Hayano, 27; Arizal Kastamiran, 29; and the boat’s 41-year-old captain Arsyad Dahalan – were rescued.
A hot pursuit operation is currently being conducted to rescue the remaining kidnap victim and apprehend his abductors.
The remaining kidnap victim is said to be a boy in his teens.
“Rest assured that we will sustain heightened alert and intensify our operations to expedite the rescue of the KV (kidnap victim) and the arrest of the ASG members,” said Vinluan.