MANILA (UPDATED) — The military on Saturday rescued one of two Filipino cargo ship crew men taken captive just two days ago by suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels, a security official said.
The troops were able to rescue Aurelio Agac-ac in remote Barangay Basakan in the municipality of Hadji Mohammad Ajul,
Basilan, said Colonel Juvymax Uy, commander of the military’s 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan.
The rebels abducted Agac-ac and his companion, Laurencio Tiro, off Basilan on Thursday, only hours after soldiers rescued two Malaysians held for about eight months on the southern island.
According to Reuters, Agac-ac worked on a cargo ship, but a military statement said he was a "tugboat captain."
Uy said the abductors abandoned Agac-ac to delay pursuing troops and evade a firefight. "The victim looked alright," he told reporters.
Agac-ac was immediately brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital for a medical checkup.
“The rescue of Aurelio Agac-ac is a result of a combined effort of the troops, the PNP (Philippine National Police), BPATs (barangay peacekeeping action teams), CVOs (civilian volunteer organizations), local government and the community," said Major General Carlito G. Galvez Jr, commander of the Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City.
A military statement said Jaudi Salupuddin, described by the military as an Abu Sayyaf member who was part of the group that kidnapped Agac-ac, was killed during a gun battle with soldiers of the 19th Special Forces Company, 4th Special Forces Battalion in Basilan.
The AFP also recovered an M16 with 2 short magazines and a motorized banca.
Abu Sayyaf is still holding a number of Filipino and foreign nationals captive, including some Indonesians and Malaysians.
As of press time, troops are still conducting pursuit operations to rescue Tiro and the other kidnap victims held captive by the Abu Sayyaf.
— With report from Reuters