MANILA (UPDATE)- Philippine security forces have rescued the last Indonesian captive of the Abu Sayaff after they launched an intensive operation against the Islamic State-linked group in Indanan town, Sulu on Wednesday evening.
In a statement, the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said they rescued fisherman Muhammad Farhan in Barangay Bato-Bato after they received information from locals about the Indonesian's whereabouts.
"May natanggap tayong report from the locals na mayroong isang kahina-hinalang tao na naglalakbay at hindi nga makapagsalita ng Tausug, at napagdudahan nila na isang kidnap victim kaya nireport niya sa ating ground forces at agad-agad namang pumunta ang ating kasundaluhan sa area," said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Wesmincom.
Prior to his rescue, Farhan reportedly escaped from his captors two days ago in Kagay, Indanan and ran for several hours until he reached Bato-Bato.
Farhan was brought to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical examination before being airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital for further treatment and debriefing.
“We are very pleased with this remarkable accomplishment,” Sobejana said.
Farhan was abducted by the Abu Sayaff in September 2019 along with two other Indonesian fishermen -- Marahudin Lunani and Samion Bin Maniue -- off Malaysian waters near the southern tip of Mindanao.
Lunani and Maniue were rescued in December 2019 during a firefight between the Abu Sayaff and Philippine troops, in which a bandit and soldier died.
“Our ground troops have succeeded in rescuing all remaining captives of the Abu Sayyaf Group...this breakthrough will be sustained to thwart kidnappings, dismantle the terror group to bring about peace and sustainable development in Sulu,” Cirilito said.
In November 2019, Philippine troops rescued a British man and his Filipino wife from Abu Sayaff, nearly 2 months after the couple was kidnapped by the terror group for ransom. - with a report from RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News