Asia - Pacific

Daesh-linked militants in Philippines release teacher

Abu Sayyaf continues to hold hostage at least 31 people, including more than 20 foreigners

Ekip   | 14.03.2017
Daesh-linked militants in Philippines release teacher

Zamboanga

By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines

A Daesh-linked militant group has released a teacher abducted in the Philippines’ majority Muslim south, according to the military Tuesday.

High school teacher Ibrahim Potong had been headed home on his motorcycle in the island province of Sulu -- an Abu Sayyaf stronghold -- when he was kidnapped Friday.

Col. Cirilito Sobrejana, Task Force Sulu commander, confirmed Tuesday that Potong was freed Monday in an undisclosed place in Sulu and reunited with his family in the village of Latih.

Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed embarrassment over an increase in the number of hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf, saying the figure exceeded 30.

Of the captives, more than 20 are foreigners -- among them nationals of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands.

Over the past year, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded a German and two Canadians after multi-million ransoms failed to be paid.

Since 1991, the group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

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