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Philippines Rescues 3 Abu Sayyaf Captives | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Philippines army soldiers in Mindanao (AFP FILE PHOTO)

Philippine troops have rescued three Malaysians who were held captive by Abu Sayyaf rebels eight months ago, the military said on Monday.

The Malaysians were among a group seized from a tugboat in waters between the southern Philippines and Malaysia last July.

Their rescue means no other Malaysians are currently held hostage because two others were found at sea last week.

The military said the three Malaysians were rescued on Jolo island in the southern Philippines on Sunday but gave no details of the operation.

Abu Sayyaf has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most brutal groups, delivering on its promises to behead hostages for whom ransom is not paid before a deadline.

Among its victims in the past eight months were a German and two Canadians. Dutch, Indonesian, Filipino and Japanese citizens are among those still held.

In recent months Abu Sayyaf militants have taken to seizing sailors from ships in waters between the southern Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Maritime security officials have warned that the region is in danger of a “Somalia-type” situation unless action is taken.

The International Maritime Bureau said in January the number of maritime kidnappings hit a 10-year high in 2016, with waters off the southern Philippines becoming increasingly dangerous.