Vietnam Failed Sailors Beheaded by Islamic Militants: Family, Neighbors

 Vietnam Failed Sailors Beheaded by Islamic Militants: Family, Neighbors

A building in Marawi is set ablaze by air strikes carried out by the Philippine Air Force. Photo: Mark Jhomel.

Vietnam’s government should have done more to bring home two Vietnamese sailors executed last week after being held for nearly eight months by Islamic militants in the Philippines, family and neighbors of the two men said Monday.

Hoang Van Hai, Hoang Trung Thong and four other Vietnamese crew members of the cargo ship MV Royal 16 were taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group in November.

Hai and Thong were beheaded by their captors, allegedly on July 5, and their remains were discovered by Philippine troops on the island of Basilan early the next day, Vietnam’s Vice Foreign Minister Vu Hong Nam said last week in a statement condemning the killing.

Nam said that the Foreign Ministry would support the victim’s families in preparing for their funerals and continue to request that Philippine authorities work to ensure the safety of Vietnamese citizens.

Philippine troops rescued a third MV Royal 16 crewman, Hoang Vo, from Abu Sayyaf last month, but three others remain in captivity.

On Monday, Hai’s father Hoang Van Tu told RFA’s Vietnamese Service that the MV Royal cargo company and the Vietnamese government had not done enough to save his son from Abu Sayyaf, which is known to behead its hostages when ransom demands are not met.

“[The militants] said we had to pay about 100 million pesos (U.S. $1.97 million) as a ransom,” Tu said in an interview at his home in Thanh Hoa province’s Tinh Gia district.

Later, he said, the wife of the cargo ship’s chief officer—who was also held by Abu Sayyaf—instructed families of the crewmen to sign a memorandum “with no words” to secure their release.

“We wondered how we could sign something with no words, but then the director of MV Royal said that only he knew what the content of the memorandum would say, and if we wanted to save our children then we would have to do it,” Tu said.

“He told us to trust in him. There were six of us families and we each signed 10 blank documents. We didn’t expect anything like this to happen!”

Hoang Van Hai’s uncle Trung told RFA that Abu Sayyaf executed the two crew members because the group had waited too long for ransom money from Vietnam, which he called a state that “doesn’t work for the benefit of its people.”

“The citizens of countries with democratic political systems that are open and respectful of human dignity wouldn’t be denigrated and neglected by foreigners,” he said.

Full story:

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2017, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.


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