Abducted roro chief engineer rescued in Basilan

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2017 06:42 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2017 08:13 PM

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday rescued the remaining Filipino hostage who was abducted by armed men off Sibago Island last week.

Basilan Governor Jim Salimman said Laurencio Tiro was rescued on Monday evening by the Special Forces Battalion in Basakan, a coastal village in Mohammad Ajul town.

He said some local officials helped tracked down the whereabouts of the hostage until government forces rescued Tiro in one of the abandoned huts in the area.

Salimman said there was no armed encounter against the bandits during the rescue.

Col. Juvy Max Uy, the commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, said Tiro's health condition was good, although he sustained some bruises and a cut during his four-day captivity.

Tiro was the chief engineer of Super Shutte RoRo 9, a cargo vessel operating in Mindanao and Visayas.

Tiro, together with boat captain Aurelio Agac-ac, were abducted by at least 20 armed men off Sibago Island.

Agac-ac was rescued in Mohamad Ajul, just two days after they were abducted.

Major General Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, cited the leadership of Salimman and other local officials in helping the military to crush the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.

Galvez said some of the known strongholds of the bandits in Basilan are now under government control, including Barangay Macalang in Albarka. The village was considered the last bastion of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan.

Galvez said Macalang was strategic to the Abu Sayyaf because of its terrain, and the support they get from the community.

It is also the home of some of the notorious leader of the bandits including Hassan Jamiri.

At least 27 people, including some foreign nationals, are still being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.