ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits freed on Thursday two kidnapped Indonesian sailors in Sulu where a clash between security forces and the notorious band left five soldiers wounded.
Sailors Sawal Maryam and Sarapuddin Koni boarded a jeepney from the capital town of Jolo after their release in Indanan but they were intercepted by troops at a checkpoint.
It was unknown how much ransom was paid or who negotiated with the terrorist ASG for their freedom.
The Indonesian sailors were abducted in November last year while their cargo ship was sailing near Sabah in Malaysia.
Their release coincided with fighting between ASG bandits and soldiers in Talipao town, about 25 kilometers away from Indanan.
The former rebel group Moro National Liberation Frontpreviously negotiated with the Abu Sayyaf for the safe release of foreign sailors.
Just last month, the ASG killed two soldiers and wounded another in a clash in Kalingalan, Caluang town, after the bandits attacked a group of patrolling Army unit in the village of Pang.
Five terrorists were also killed in that fighting and their bodies were recovered by troops along with four automatic rifles, a sniper rifle, a sub-machine gun and a shotgun.
The clash came after a deadline set by the ASG on families of four kidnapped construction workers – Felimon Cordero, Edmund Ramos, Joel Adanza and Jason Baylosis, all from Zamboanga City – was met.
The four workers were later released unharmed.
The bandits threatened that they would execute the construction workers whom they seized in July in Patikul town if their families or the government failed to pay millions of pesos in ransom.