ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 5 — Residents in Sumisip, Basilan province were horrified when they discovered early Wednesday the decapitated remains of two of the remaining five abducted Vietnamese sailors.

“The bodies were found at around 5:40 a.m. by a resident in the area,” said Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan.

He said the cadavers were “left by unknown perpetrators” in the village of Tumahubong, Sumisip town.

Uy identified the remains as those of Hoang Thong and Hoang Va Hai, both crew members of the Vietnamese bulk carrier, M/V Royal 16.

The two slain sailors were among the six crewmen the Abu Sayyaf bandits seized when they hijacked the bulk carrier on November 11, 2016 in the seawater of Sibago Island, Basilan province.

Of the six crewmen, three remain in captivity as one of their companion, Hoang Vo, 28, managed to escape last month at the height of a military air strike.

Among the three still in captivity is Pham Minh Turn, the master of M/V Royal 16.

“The cadavers will be made to undergo forensic exams as coordination with the Vietnamese embassy,” Uy said.

It is believed that the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were behind the beheading of the two Vietnamese sailors. The group is known to behead captives for years.

But Uy said they are still “getting information on the details of the incident (beheading).”

“We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of another kidnap victims in Basilan province. For months now, many sectors in the society, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) exhausted all efforts to rescue these kidnap victims who are still in the hands of the ASG,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said.

“Westmincom commiserates with the bereaved family and friends of the slain victims. In no way does the Abu Sayyaf Group represent our Muslim brothers who are true followers of the Islam,” Galvez said. (Darwin Wally T. Wee/PNA)