Philippine militants free three Indonesian hostages
ISLAMIC militants in the Philippines have freed three Indonesian sailors abducted at sea in the latest release by the Abu Sayyaf group after a kidnapping spree in the restive south.
The Abu Sayyaf handed over the three men on Jolo Island to a major rebel group which then released them to authorities yesterday, government peace negotiator Jesus Dureza said.
The three were part of a group of sailors abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in June. The terms of the release were not disclosed, but the Abu Sayyaf typically releases hostages after hefty ransom payments are paid.
Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi confirmed the three hostages – Ferry Arifin, Edi Suryono and Muhamad Mabrur Dahri – had been freed and would be handed over to a team from the Indonesian embassy.
Yesterday’s handover was the latest hostage release overseen by Nur Misuari, an elder Muslim rebel leader with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) group.
After a decades-long insurgency, the MNLF is currently engaged in peace talks with President Rodrigo Duterte. The Abu Sayyaf is not part of the peace process.
In mid-September, a Norwegian hostage kidnapped in 2015 and three other Indonesian seamen were handed over by the Abu Sayyaf to Misuari who then passed them on to the government. A few days later, another kidnapped Indonesian sailor was freed through the MNLF. –