Indonesian escapes from Abu Sayyaf captors


Posted at Aug 17 2016 01:58 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2016 07:35 PM

Philippine soldiers and policemen escort Indonesian hostage Mohammad Safyan after he escaped from Abu Sayyaf captors, in Jolo, Sulu on Wednesday. Stringer, Reuters

MANILA - An Indonesian national on Wednesday escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors in Luuk, Sulu, an Army official confirmed.

Western Midnanao Command spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said the foreigner, Mohammad Safyan, escaped from the bandit group at a mangrove area in Barangay Bual after they threatened to behead him.

Locals found Safyan trapped in a fishnet and floating along the village's shoreline. His rescuers brought him to the municipal police station.

READ: Military seizes Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Basilan

Safyan will undergo documentation at the Sulu Provincial Police Office before he returns to his family, Tan said.

Safyan, a crew member of the tugboat Charles, was abducted off the high seas near the Philippine border last June 23 along with six other crew members of the tugboat.

Troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu were directed to scour the area and use all available assets to rescue the remaining kidnap victims.

Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda linked group, is notorious for extortion, kidnappings and bombings.

The ragtag bandit group beheaded two Canadians kidnapped this year from a tourist resort. They recently freed 18 Indonesians and Malaysian tugboat crew members after getting ransom.

In June, a video appeared online showing Islamic State accepting the allegiance of Abu Sayyaf fighters, in the first formal recognition of a Southeast Asian group by Islamic State, counter-terrorism officials said.

President Duterte recently ordered the Philippine Army to "destroy" the militant group.

-- Report from Henry Atuelan, DZMM