Abu Sayyaf Group frees 3 Indonesian captives
Three more Indonesian hostages were released after more than three months in captivity by the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu, an official said on Sunday.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus said the release of the hostages was "a convergence of efforts" that President Rodrigo Duterte initiated in getting the cooperation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the local governments, the stakeholders and the military through its ongoing operations in the area.
Asked if it was safe to assume that ransom was not paid for the freedom of the foreigners, he said, "I have no information on that so (I) can't comment."
Dureza learned of the release after rogue MNLF leader Nur Misuari called him up and informed him that he turned over the freed hostages to Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II before noon on Sunday.
"Chairman Misuari requested me to relay this new development to President Duterte, in whose behalf I expressed gratitude for the efforts," he said.
In the same phone call, he said Tan confirmed that he had physical custody of the three Indonesians and he would turn them over to the Joint Task Force Sulu headed by Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega.
The victims identified as Ferry Arifin, Dan Edi Suryono, Mohammad Mahbrur were released Saturday night in an undisclosed place to the MNLF, said Major Filemon Tan, military's spokesman in Western Mindanao Command.
The victims were crew members of a tugboat and were taken by the Abu Sayyaf on June 22 in Simisa Island, Sulu.
In September, the Abu Sayyaf also freed three Indonesian captives, along with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
Around 10 hostages, including Dutch, Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipinos, remain in the hands of the bandits. Celerina D. Monte/DMS