Abu Sayyaf, a militant group which operates in the southern Philippines, released on Sunday three Indonesian hostages. The day before the terrorist organisation freed a Norwegian held in captivity for a year.
The release of the Indonesian fishermen who were abducted on 9 July and identified as Lorens Koten, Teodurus Kofung and Emmanuel Arakain, was negotiated by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), an Islamic separatist organisation which is in peace talks with the government of the Philippines. The authorities said that they are unaware of any ransom payment. However, according to a separate security source, the captives were released after paying an unspecified amount of money.
On Saturday, Abu Sayyaf released the Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, who had been held in captivity since September 21, 2015. The man was abducted from a resort on Samal Island, the Philippines. The militant group spokesperson Abu Ramie said that it received a $638,000 ransom for Sekkingstad’s release.
Abu Sayyaf, a jihadists group notorious for attacks on civilians and kidnapping for ransom was founded in 1991, after its split with the MNLF. The group is headquartered in the restive Muslim-majority province of Mindanao in the country’s far south and is believed to have 400 members. In 2004, Abu Sayyaf took responsibility for a ferry’s bomb attack in Manila Bay, which resulted in 116 victims. In 2016, the group beheaded two Canadians after the Canadian government refused to pay the ransom demanded for them.