AFP recovers Vietnamese hostage who escaped from ASG

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The Vietnamese crewman, Hoang Vo, had a wound in his back when recovered by government troops.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 16) — After over seven months in captivity, a Vietnamese hostage walks away from the clutches of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan, according to a statement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Western Mindanao Command on Friday.

Hoang Vo, a crew member of MV Royal 16, escaped when the lawless elements dispersed following airstrike and artillery fire by government troops earlier in the  morning. He was later recovered by members of Joint Task Force Basilan at the Sumisip-Ungkaya Pukan Complex.

Task force commander Col. Juvymax Uy said the 28-year-old Vietnamese crewman had a wound in his back when he was found, and was given immediate medical attention.

"We continually put pressure to these remaining bandits in order to force them to surrender or release their victims," Uy said.

Also recovered by the troops in the clearing operation after the offensive were an M16 and a Garand rifle, plus two M653 rifles.

Related: 19 ASG members in Basilan surrender to military

Vo, a resident of Nghe An, Vietnam, was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf southeast of Sibago Island in November 2016.

The ASG still holds 26 hostages — 21 of whom are in Sulu and five in Basilan. Vo was held, along with five other Vietnamese nationals, by the Basilan-based group of Furudji Indama.

Two more ASGs killed

Meanwhile, two ASG members had been killed in Tawi-Tawi last night after the bandits resisted arrest and exchanged gunfire with members of Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi.

WestMinCom said the fatalities were identified as Hamid Mohammad and Altasil Lakbaoin.

Related: AFP: 81 Abus killed, 50 surrendered, 18 nabbed since January

Since the start of the year, 83 Abus had been killed so far in western Mindanao. Of this number, 14 were killed in Basilan, 62 in Sulu, and seven in Tawi-Tawi.