9 of 10 fishermen kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf released, police confirm


The Philippine military has been hunting Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants who have earned many millions of dollars from kidnapping foreigners and locals since the early 1990s. AFP file photo

KOTA KINABALU: Four days after being abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants, nine of the 10 fishermen involved have been released by their captors.

It was learned that the nine victims were recovered and rescued by Philippine security forces at Toyang village in Talipao on Jolo Island today.

The fate of the tenth victim is still unclear as at press time.

According to sources, the nine rescued victims were among the 10 fishermen kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in the waters off Lahad Datu around 2.20am on Jun 18.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah confirmed receiving the reports of the rescue mission but was unable to provide full details amid the investigation.

The ten fishermen, believed to be sea gypsies and commonly known as Bajau Laut or Pelahu, were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf militant group from two fishing boats off the Tambisan waters near the Tawi Tawi islands of the Philippines while on their way to Semporna to renew their permits.

Two speedboats carrying heavily armed individuals then climbed onto the boats before taking four men from the first fishing boat and another six men from the second fishing boat.

They then fled towards the Philippines, leaving behind two crew members from the first boat and four crew members from the second boat.