After nearly a year in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a kidnapped trader was freed in Sulu Wednesday morning.
Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) spokesman Major Filemon Tan said Araji Maani was freed in Barangay Wanih Piyanjihan in Parang town at about 10:45 a.m.
Maani was kidnapped last July 27, 2015 in Zamboanga City.
Joint Task Force Sulu, in coordination with the Sulu Police Provincial Office, conducted a counseling session before Maani was turned over to his family.
Meanwhile, troops from the 35th Infantry Battalion conducting operations engaged with an estimated 20 ASG terrorists in Barangay Maligay in Patikul town, killing one of the bandits.
Tan said these brigands are believed to be responsible for the killing of unarmed soldiers in different areas in Jolo.
The ASGs retreated, leaving behind the body of their fallen comrade and a .45-caliber pistol.
“The conduct of focused military operations in Sulu was believed to exert pressure on the ASG to release their remaining kidnap victims. To date, there are nine foreigners and three locals believed to still be in the hands of the bandits,” said Tan.