Gov’t forces fail to rescue girl after brief firefight with ASG

Published July 10, 2018, 7:02 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Nonoy Lacson

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police and military authorities failed to rescue, early Tuesday, a six-year old girl from the clutches of suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who had adbucted her last June 25 in Tawi-Tawi.

Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WesMinCom) Spokesman Army Lt Col. Gerry M. Besana said soldiers and policemen jointly conducted a law enforcement operation at Sitio Kambal, Barangay Pang, Kalingalang Caluang, Sulu at around 5:50am yesterday to rescue Radsnalyn Asta, but could not recover the hostage who was reportedly brought by her captors to the hinterlands of Kalingalang Caluang town in Sulu as they made good their escape.

Besana said the ASG members left behind three high-powered firearms and other war materiel.

The attempt to rescue Asta came after authorities received reports that the ASG and young hostage were seen in the vicinity of Sitio Kambal, Barangay Pang, Kalingalang Caluang, Sulu.

Joint Task Force-Sulu (JTF-Sulu) Commander Brig Gen Divino Rey Pabayo said “intensified pursuit and intelligence operations are continuously being launched by our troops and the police to track down the abductors and rescue the victim.”

Asta, 6, was forcibly taken by seven suspected members of the ASG from their residence in Sitio Palau Pinang, Barangay Himba, Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi on June 25.

The military report also indicated that Navy has alerted the Naval Task Groups in all areas to pre-empt possible landing of the fleeing bandits and rescue Asta.

For his part, AFP-WesMinCom Chief Lt Gen Arnel Dela Vega said: “We deeply sympathize with the family of the victim in the situation that they are in at the moment. Our troops and the PNP are doing their best to bring Radsnalyn back to her family.”