At least ten kidnap victims are still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province.
This was reported by Western Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen Rustico Guerrero amid ongoing operations against the bandit group by Marines in Sulu.
The kidnap victims reportedly include two Malaysian fish cage caretakers who were kidnapped in Semporna last month.
“We have reason to believe they are still alive, not necessarily in one spot,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero said the Wesmincom is still verifying reports that one kidnap victim had been injured in an encounter last month.
The report surfaced after one kidnap victim, Remigio Lingayan reported through a phone conversation to his wife Anna Liza that his companion,
Joselito Gonzales, was injured during the inital encounter between government troops and ASG bandits last June.
There had been no reports of civilian casualties during the military operations since that time.
The troops were reportedly given the instruction to ensure the safety of the victims during the operation.
Guerrero made the statement after the capture of a main camp of the Abu Sayyaf last Wednesday in the continuing operation against the bandits.