File Photo: Philippine Army soldiers line up to board a military plane. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

MANILA, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- Philippine troops have rescued an Indonesian fisherman held hostage since September 2019 by the Abu Sayyaf fighters in the southern Philippine Sulu province, the country's military said on Wednesday.

According to Xinhua news agency, the military said the Indonesian hostage, Muhammad Farhan, was rescued in a remote village in Indanan, Sulu at 6.45 pm local time on Wednesday.

The victim is now confined at a military hospital, the military said in a statement.

Farhan is among the three Indonesian fishermen snatched by masked Abu Sayyaf gunmen in two pump boats that boarded two fishing vessels on Sept 23 in the waters off Lahad Datu in Malaysia close to the sea border with the southern Philippines.

The military said civilians tipped off the location of Farhan, leading to his rescue.

Philippine troops rescued the other two Indonesian fishermen in December last year during a firefight in the mountainous hinterlands of Panamao, a town in Sulu province.

Abu Sayyaf Group is considered the smallest but the most violent of the extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has an estimated 400 fighters, is active in the impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

The group is responsible for a series of kidnappings-for-ransom, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the Mindanao region.

The group, which has been terrorising the southern region of the Philippines since the 1990s, preys on foreign tourists, businessmen and fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from Indonesia and Malaysia and hide them in Philippine jungles or remote islands.



TAGS: Philippines, rescue, hostage, Indonesia, fishermen, kidnappings for ransom, Abu Sayyaf, Mindanao