Three Vietnamese crew members have been killed so far and two others are held hostage after being abducted by terrorists from the Philippines, according to the foreign ministry.
Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang announced on Monday afternoon that Tran Viet Van was the latest victim to be murdered by Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf.
Following a raid on the group’s lair in Tolo by the Filipino army in early April, several bodies of the hostages were found, with one later identified as Van.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Tran Viet Van,” Hang said, expressing her hope that the bereaved will soon overcome this huge loss to stabilize their life.
The Embassy of Vietnam in the Philippines is working with competent agencies in both countries to finalize the post-mortem examination and legal process to repatriate Van’s body, the diplomat added.
On July 4, the foreign ministry confirmed the death of Hoang Trung Thong and Hoang Van Hai.
The three victims, who were kidnapped in November 2016, were all crew members of the Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship MV Royal 16.
The vessel was sailing near Sibago Island in the town of Mohammad Ajul in Basilan when a group of armed Abu Sayyaf men approached them from a speedboat.
Among the six hostages, only one was then released and brought back to Vietnam, while the remaining two are still being held by the terrorists.
A meeting was convened on Tuesday between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the Embassy of the Philippines in Vietnam to seek assistance and solutions to ensure the safety of the two victims.