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Philippine Army Says Two Indonesians Rescued From Abu Sayyaf Captors

07 September 2017

Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups operating in the southern Philippines, and they are notorious for kidnappings, bombings as well as attacking civilians and the army.

Mr Saparuddin, a boat skipper, and Mr Sawal, his assistant, were taken by the Abu Sayyaf on Nov 16 previous year, as they were fishing in waters off Kunak.

Their ordeal ended when they turned up at a military checkpoint on Jolo shortly after Philippine troops clashed with their suspected kidnappers in a nearby town, the local military chief said.

Brigadier-General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said in a report Saparuddin bin Koni, 43, and Sawal bin Maryam, 36, were found at around 6.30am inside a van in Indanan district in Sulu province, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

He said the bandits fled leaving behind their slain companions. The two were abducted in November 2016 "somewhere in the waters of Sabah, Malaysia".

The kidnappers still hold 15 other hostages, all but two of them foreigners, the general said.

Two Indonesians who escaped from Abu Sayyaf militants after 10 months of captivity were recovered by Philippine troops Thursday, officials said.

Last year, the group beheaded two Canadian hostages. In March, five Malaysian sailors, abducted last July, were rescued.

The Abu Sayyaf has fighters among a militant alliance that has occupied Marawi City in Mindanao for more than 100 days.

Philippine Army Says Two Indonesians Rescued From Abu Sayyaf Captors