Troops recover 2 Indonesians abducted by Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

Troops recover 2 Indonesians abducted by Abu Sayyaf in Sulu”

The Philippine Marines in the Joint Task Force Sulu have rescued two Indonesian hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Thursday morning.

The circumstances of their escape were not immediately clear but Sobejana, a military commander in the province, said just before their recovery, troops clashed with 20 Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Talipao, another town of Sulu, leaving 5 militants dead and five soldiers wounded. Five militants were killed.

The sailors were abducted nine months ago in Malaysian waters and taken to the remote southern Philippine island of Jolo, a stronghold of the suspects from the Abu Sayyaf group, Islamist militants engaged mainly in kidnappings for ransom.

Sobejana said the two Indonesian fishermen were abducted aboard a Malaysian-registered boat in November past year in waters near Malaysia's eastern state of Sabah.

"Minutes later, we intercepted a van which was carrying two Indonesian captives while pursuing the Abu Sayyaf after the encounter", said Sobejana.

The kidnappers had also murdered his woman partner and compatriot during his kidnapping at sea four months earlier.

The group has pledged allegiance to the ultra-radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Abu Sayyaf typically holds at least two dozen hostages at a time, taking more people captive after others are executed, rescued or released when ransom is paid.

Since it turned kidnaping into a lucrative trade, the group has already beheaded an American, a Malaysian, two Canadians and a German.

The militants continue to occupy parts of the southern city despite a US-backed military offensive there that has claimed almost 800 lives and displaced almost 400,000 people.

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