Asia - Pacific

Philippine troops rescue 4 Indonesians from militants

Abu Sayyaf group abducted them in January last year; troops kill 3 including militant commander Majan Sahidjuan

By Erric Permana and Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 22.03.2021
Philippine troops rescue 4 Indonesians from militants File Photo

JAKARTA, Indonesia

The Philippine military has rescued four Indonesian nationals including a 15-year-old boy, who were anducted by Abu Sayyaf militant group in the country’s south, according to official statements.

In a statement on late Sunday, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said the Philippine military rescued three hostages on Thursday and the boy, Khairuldin, on Sunday.

Abu Sayyaf militant group leader Majan Sahidjuan, also known as Apo Mike, and two others were also killed in Tawi-Tawi province, the Philippines' southernmost province.

The ministry said Khairuldin was examined by the armies of both countries at the Indonesian border crossing station near Bongao city. The statement said all four rescued people are in good health.

The four hostages were among five Indonesians kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf group on Jan. 17 last year off the coast of Tambisan in Malaysia. One of them died while trying to escape.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command, in a statement said that a boat belonging to Abu Sayyaf capsized after being hit by a big wave and it gave security forces the opportunity to rescue three of the four hostages on Thursday.

“We are pleased to inform everyone that Mohd Khairuldin, a 15-year-old Indonesian National, was rescued in Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi at 6:30 [2230GMT Satruday] in the morning today, Sunday,” Vinluan said.

Apo Mike succumbed to his injuries after a clash with marine troops on Saturday evening, he added.

Vinluan said Sahidjuan was the mastermind behind several kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf group, which is based in the Sulu province and has also been involved in bomb attacks and piracy for decades.

“We are happy that all the hostages are safe now and we are also able to neutralize the notorious Apo Mike and two of his comrades,” he added.

The Foreign Ministry said it will coordinate with the Philippine government for their repatriation process.

"Furthermore, the hostages who had been rescued earlier will be taken to Zamboanga before being flown to Manila," it added.

The ministry also expressed gratitude to the Philippine government and military for their cooperation.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language services in Jakarta

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