dpa/GNA – The last of four Indonesian fisherman held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines for more than a year was rescued, an official said on Sunday.
Philippine joint security forces secured the 14-year-old on Kalupag island, in the southern Philippines.
The forces were said to have retrieved the teen after an encounter with Abu Sayyaf members that resulted in the militants fleeing the scene.
The Foreign Ministry’s director for protection of Indonesian citizens abroad, Judha Nugraha, said in a statement that officials from the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao City has met and checked Muhammad Khairul’s condition, confirming that he is doing well.
“Now that he is rescued, all Indonesians held hostage by Abu Sayyaf group had been released,” Nugaraha said.
Khairul’s freedom came after his three compatriots were rescued on Thursday when Philippine authorities responded to a distress call from a capsized boat in the waters off Tawi Tawi province. The boat turned out to be carrying Abu Sayyaf militants and three Indonesian hostages.
The three Indonesians – identified as Arsad bin Dahlan, Arizal Kasta Miran and Andi Riswanto – were rescued, while Philippine authorities continued operations to locate the fourth, Khairul.
Nugraha said the four Indonesians would be flown to Manila before returning to Indonesia.
“The Indonesian government appreciates the good cooperation extended by the Philippine’s government and security forces,” Nugraha said.
The four Indonesian citizens are part of the five Indonesians who were kidnapped for a ransom by Abu Sayyaf group on January 16, 2020 in Tambisan waters off Malaysia’s Sabah state. One of the fishermen, La Baa, was killed by his abductors when he tried to escape during an encounter in September 2020.