Hyrons couple rescued from ASG in Sulu

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

A MILITARY official confirmed Monday, November 25, the rescue of British national Alan Hyrons and his wife Wilma in Parang, Sulu.

Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said no ransom was paid for the couple, who was abducted from their resort in Zamboanga del Sur on October 4, 2019.

"Wala, kasi we do not allow ransom payment at the more ransom, the more ma-develop 'yung kalaban... purely rescue and sunod-sunod na encounter," Sobejana said.

The couple will undergo medical examination and custodial debriefing before they will be released from the military custody.

The British Embassy in Manila, in a statement, expressed its gratitude to the Philippine government and authorities.

"We welcome the rescue of Alan and Wilma Hyrons, who were kidnapped on 4 October. We extend our gratitude to the government and authorities of the Philippines,” the embassy said.

Sobejana said government forces launched continuous combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu over the weekend, killing five ASG men including a sub-leader and wounding seven soldiers.

In a statement, Sobejana said the first encounter occurred between the 32nd Infantry Battalion and ASG at 2:40 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 2019, in Sitio Itum, Barangay Kabbuntakas in Patikul, Sulu.

The clash lasted about 45 minutes. Killed was a certain Jailade, an ASG member. Four other ASG men were reportedly wounded.

Five soldiers were also wounded and brought to Camp Bautista Station Hospital for treatment.

The second encounter transpired between the 2nd Special Forces Battalion and the ASG in Sitio Huton Mahablo, Barangay Silangkan in the municipality of Indanan at 3:30 pm Sunday, November 24, 2019.

This time, an ASG sub-leader and three other ASG men were killed. Two Special Forces personnel were also wounded and brought to the military hospital in Jolo, Sulu.

Among those killed was Sibih Pisih, a subgroup leader of the ASG under Radullan Sahiron and Roger Sajih. He had a pending warrant of arrest for the massacre of 22 civilians in Talipao Sulu, in 2014.

The three other ASG members who were killed were identified as certain Saipal Reny, Melvin Reny and Taihal Sabtal.

Recovered firearms were one M653 Rifle, one Barret Sniper Rifle, three Cal .45 pistols, assorted magazines and ammunition, and five cellular phones. (SunStar Philippines)