Navy sending more boats, best people to fight Abu Sayyaf

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Navy sending more boats, best people to fight Abu Sayyaf
Naval Forces Western Mindanao will be sent speedboats and the best personnel.
File photo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- The Philippine Navy will send the Naval Forces Western Mindanao more boats and the best men to help fight the Abu Sayyaf Group and stem a series of abductions of seafarers near the borders with Malaysia and Indonesia.

Navy Flag-Officer-inCommand R.Adm. Ronald Mercado said they the Navy is sending 30 speedboats to NFWM to help the Western Mindanao Command defeat the Abu Sayyaf Group, which is believed to be behind the kidnappings.

Mercado bared this on the sidelines of the change of command where R.Adm. Rene Medina took over as NFWM chief from R.Adm. Jorge Amba, who has been named commander of the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales.

“We are prepared to provide the needed sea assets and the best people we have here in the region,” Mercado said in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's order to crush the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Mercado's order also came after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año and top military officials assessed the security in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu, where the kidnappings have been taking place.

Medina said minutes after he assumed command that NFWM will intensify security at sea and thwart kidnapping and piracy attempts. 

Westmincom reported that the Abu Sayyaf has 26 hostages in Sulu: Seven Indonesians, five Malaysians, a Dutch national, a German and six Filipinos.

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