Abu Sayyaf releases kidnapped politician

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Terrorists from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) freed a kidnapped municipal official in southern Philippines after holding him captive for 35 days, the military said on Friday.

Ezeddin Tan, a councilor in Jolo, Sulu was released on November 1 near the village of Buru in Talipao town, it added.

Buru is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu, confirmed the councilor’s release but he did not say whether the politician’s family paid ransom to the kidnappers.

Tan was kidnapped at gunpoint on September 27 while he was biking with friends in Indanan town.

His family did not issue any statement to the media after he was freed.

Sobejana said the councilor is in good physical condition.

The Abu Sayyaf Group is still holding nearly two dozen Filipino and foreign hostages in its strongholds in Mindanao in the South.

The military said it will order a fresh offensive against the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups in Sulu and Basilan, both provinces in the restive Muslim autonomous region, after the defeat of local IS fighters in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province.

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