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SULU – An Indonesian fisherman kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf was freed Thursday in the town of Luuk in the southern Filipino province of Sulu.

The 35-year old Usman Yusuf was quickly brought to a military base in the capital town of Jolo after soldiers recovered him around 7.30 in the morning in Bual village.

Yusuf was kidnapped along with another Indonesian man Samsul Saguni, 40, in September 11 off Gaya Island in Sabah’s Semporna town and brought to Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. But the fate of the second hostage remains unknown.

The release of Yusuf came after the Chief of the Indonesian Consul-General’s Office in Sabah, Sulistijo Djati Ismojo, appealed to Malaysia to resolve the kidnapping of its citizens.

It was unknown whether ransom had been paid to the kidnappers in exchange for Yusuf’s release. In September The Abu Sayyaf had previously released other Indonesian hostages to Nur Misuari, chieftain of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front and his wife Tarhata; and a former Indonesian army general Kivlan Zein.

In September 14 this year, the militant group, whose leaders pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, also released to the MNLF 3 other Indonesian hostages Hamdam Salim, Subandi Sattuh and Sudarlan Samansung, who were kidnapped at sea off Sabah in January.

In August 2016, civilians recovered 2 of seven Indonesian sailors Ismail and Mohamad Soyfan in the same village of Bual. The duo was part of a crew of tugboat Charles kidnapped in June of the same year after militants on speedboats intercepted the vessel while heading to Samarinda in East Kalimantan following a trip from the Philippines. The remaining hostages – Ferry Arifin, the skipper; M. Mahbrur Dahri, Edi Suryono, M.Nasir, and Robin Piter were eventually freed by the Abu Sayyaf to Misuari on October 2, 2016.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding at least three more foreigners and three Filipinos in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)


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