Troops capture Abu Sayyaf member involved in hijack of vessel off Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY- Government security forces captured a suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit allegedly involved in the hijack of a tugboat towing a cargo vessel on Thursday off Basilan province.

Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, told the Philippines News Agency that the suspect was captured following a brief firefight in the coast of Barangay Candiis, Mohammad Ajul town, Basilan province.

Galvez said that pursuing troops also recovered a firearm and three speed boats used by the bandits when they waylaid M/T Tug R9 towing the cargo vessel Super Shuttle Roro 9.

Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits aboard three speed boats waylaid the tugboat towing the cargo vessel while transiting near Sibago Island, Mohammad Ajul, Basilan province.

Galvez said the gunmen seized two crewmen (not four as earlier reported) of the tugboat as they were unable to climb the vessel.

They were identified as Aurelio Agacac, the tugboat captain, and Laurencio Tiro, the chief engineer. They were believed taken to mainland Basilan.

Col. Juvymax Uy, Task Force Basilan commander, said troops are pursuing the suspects behind the hijack of the tugboat.

"There is an ongoing operations. We will try to push them to the limit in Tuburan and Mohammad Ajul," Uy said.

Source: Philippines News Agency