Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs vehemently condemned the murder of two Vietnamese citizens by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group, Deputy Minister Vu Hong Nam said at a press meeting on Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Hanoi, Nam said the ministry has taken swift actions after receiving news of the murder of the two alleged Vietnamese victims on the night of July 4 in the Philippine village of Banrangay Tumahubong Sumisip.
On Wednesday, a chargé d’affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi was summoned, whereas the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines also contacted the host country’s authorized agencies to ask for coordination to preserve the bodies and identify the victims, according to the deputy minister.
Following these meetings, the two victims were confirmed to be Hoang Trung Thong and Hoang Van Hai, two of the Vietnamese sailors of the ship Royal 16 who had been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf group in November 2016, Nam said.
Upon the confirmation of the murder, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his sadness and anger at the barbaric and inhumane murder.
“The terrorists who caused the death of Vietnamese citizens must receive severe punishment,” the premier said, while calling on the international community to join hands to fight terrorism.
The head of government and the foreign ministry have extended their condolences to the families of the victims.
The Vietnamese foreign ministry will assist the victims’ families in holding funeral observances for them, deputy minister Nam added.
Representatives of the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines have arrived at the local hospital in the Zamboanga region, where the victims’ bodies are kept, Nam said, adding that procedures are underway to bring their bodies or remains home, as per their families’ wish.
“The foreign ministry will continue requesting Philippines’ authorized agencies to ensure safety for Vietnamese citizens,” Nam underlined, noting that the Philippine side has done its best to assist with Vietnam’s request.