ZAMBOANGA CITY - Pursuing government troops has rescued the skipper of the tugboat towing a cargo ship hijacked two days by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits off Basilan province, a military official said Saturday, March 25.
Colonel Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, disclosed that Aurelio Agacac, the skipper of M/T Tug R9 towing the cargo vessel, Supper Shuttle Roro 9, is now in their custody.
Uy said the troops rescued Agacac around 5:30 a.m. Saturday in the village of Basakan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan.
Uy said the troops are still tracking down the whereabouts of Agacac’s chief engineer, Laurencio Tiro, who remained in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan province.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits on Thursday seized Agacac and Tiro when they hijacked the M/T Tug R9 towing the Super Shuttle Roro 9 while transiting in the vicinity of Sibago Island, Hadji Mohammad Ajul town.
Uy did not provide further details on the circumstances surrounding the rescue of Agacac.
He said they strengthened the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf bandits following the brazen attack on Thursday off Sibago Island, Hadji Mohammad Ajul town.
Earlier, Major General Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief, said one of the suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits involved in the hijacking was captured following a brief firefight in the coast of Candiis, Mohammad Ajul town, Basilan province.
The brief firefight occurred several minutes after the hijacking incident as the government troops sighted the Abu Sayyaf bandits who seized Agacac and Tiro.
Galvez said that after the brief firefight, the pursuing troops have also recovered a firearm and three speed boats used by the bandits when they waylaid the M/T Tug R9 towing the cargo vessel, Super Shuttle Roro 9.