Abu Sayyaf frees Malaysian hostage

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has freed a kidnapped Ma-laysian fish breeder after six months in captivity, military officials confirmed on Thursday.

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Chan Sai Chuin was reportedly sneaked out of Sulu on a speedboat by Malaysian negotiators and has returned Wednesday to Sandakan town in Sabah where his anxious family waited.

There was no immediate statement from the Malaysian Embassy in Manila, but the military has confirmed the release of the 32-year old Chuin, whose passport name is Kun Mun Hua.

He was freed in the village of Tubig Dakula in Indanan town.

The rebels had threatened to kill the Malaysian fish breeder if his family fails to pay 3 million ringgits (P41 million) in ransom.

Chuin was kidnapped along with a Filipino worker on June 16 from a fish farm in Kunak town in Sabah’s Tawau District. The fate of the unidentified Filipino is unknown.

Two Filipino negotiators, Mamih Sangkulah, who is a leader of the Moro National Liberation Front, and Mandi Sangkula reportedly helped Malaysian authorities negotiate with the ASG for Chuin’s release.

Both men also acted as negotiators for other Malaysian and Chinese hostages kidnapped in Sabah in recent months.

Officials are mum on how much ransom was allegedly paid to the ASG.

A student in Jolo town, who was allegedly taken by the ASG, also escaped on December 10 after troops intercepted the 16-year old victim who told security forces that she managed to flee from her captors.

The ASG is still holding captive 26-year old Malaysian policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip, who was seized on June 12 following a clash in Sabah that killed another policeman. The rebels are demanding 5 million ringgits (P68.3 million) for Aleip’s release.

Aside from the Malaysian policeman, the ASG is still holding captive 64-year old Japanese treasure hunter Katayama Mamaito, who was kidnapped in Pangutaran Island in July 2010, and several Filipinos kidnapped in Zamboanga, Basilan, and other areas nearby.

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