Rescued Malaysian sailors excited to return home

CAMP NAVARRO, Zamboanga City- The three Malaysian sailors who were rescued Sunday midnight said they are eager to return home and meet their families, after spending more than eight months in captivity in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Speaking through a translator, newly rescued Mohammad Jumadil Rahim, Mohammad Ridzuan Bin Ismail and Fandy Bin Bakran said they are happy for their freedom and are looking forward to be reunited with their respective families in Malaysia.

"Thanks to the almighty, we have been rescued. Also, thank you to the Armed Forces (of the Philippines), and to the Philippine government. We missed our families very much," Ridzuan, who spoke in behalf of the other victims, said.

They were rescued at around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Poblacion Punas, Panglima Estino, Sulu.

The rescue came as the Joint Task Force Sulu launched massive search and rescue operations against the captives of the Abu Sayyaf.

Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., the commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said they are already preparing the logistics for the victims to be flown to Manila tomorrow, March 28.

Malaysian military Major General Datuk Masrani Paiman, the head of the International Monitoring Team 12, said they are overwhelmed by the efforts made by the Philippine government to rescue their countrymen.

"I'm really glad and happy to see that all the five Malaysian kidnapped victims have been freed. We are also very thankful to the Armed Forces of the Philippines because of their efforts. It is not easy to rescue kidnapped victims alive, especially during intensive military operations," he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency