Philippines: Remaining Indonesian Hostage, 15, Rescued from Abu Sayyaf

BenarNews staff
Zamboanga, Philippines
2021-03-21
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Philippines: Remaining Indonesian Hostage, 15, Rescued from Abu Sayyaf Rescued Indonesian kidnap victims identified as (left to right) Khairuldin bin Yai Kil, Arizal Kastamarin, Arsyad Bin Dahlan and Riswanto Bin Hayono are presented to Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (not shown) at Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga, Philippines, March 21, 2021.
BenarNews

Philippine troops rescued a 15-year-old kidnapping victim on Sunday in the far south of the country, the last of a group of five Indonesians held by Abu Sayyaf since January 2020, authorities said.

Troops secured the teenager, identified as Khairuldin bin Yai Kil, after an encounter in which a suspected kidnap gang leader was captured in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the far southern Philippines.

“I am happy to report that the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi under Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas successfully rescued the remaining one Indonesian kidnap victim,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

Authorities had earlier identified the still-missing member of the group as Mohammad Khairul, age 12. He was one of five Indonesians seized on January 16, 2020 in waters off Lahad Datu, in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah, where they were working for a Malaysian fishing firm.

Soldiers rescued three other members of the group in Tawi-Tawi late Thursday. The fifth, identified as La Baa, was said to have been killed by his captors during an encounter with government troops in September 2020 in the jungles of Patikul, in Sulu province.

Khairuldin was recovered in a town called Languyan early on Sunday morning, Vinluan said.

It was not immediately clear if the teenager was abandoned by his captors as they scrambled to flee following a clash with the military on Saturday. That clash left their leader, known as Majan Sahijuan, wounded, and he was subsequently captured by the military.

Sahijuan is listed by authorities in Sabah as an Abu Sayyaf member responsible for a spate of cross-border abductions and a notorious kidnap-gang leader. Little else is known about him.

Members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 tracked down Sahijuan’s group after receiving reports from local people about armed civilians in the area, Vinluan said

The Abu Sayyaf members were believed to have made it to shore after their speed boat capsized on Thursday. Three Indonesian hostages were rescued and an alleged Abu Sayyaf militant was captured at the time.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana himself flew to Tawi-Tawi to fetch the remaining hostage in order to reunite him with the others, authorities said.

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