The terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has released in Sulu province a Malaysian policeman who was abducted in Semporna, Malaysia in July last year, a military spokesman said on Saturday.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the ASG freed Zakia Aliep at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday in Sulu province and was whisked on a speedboat to Sabah where Malaysian authorities were waiting for his arrival.
Aliep was probably released because of the relentless pursuit operations by the military, Cabunoc said.
The ASG seized Aliep in July last year during an attack on a Marine Police outpost at Pulau Mabul off Semporna district in Malaysia. Another policeman, Kpl Ab Rajah Jamuan, was killed during the attack.
It was not known if ransom was paid in exchange for the release of Aliep. The group had demanded five million ringgits (P68.3 million) for his release following his abduction.
Cabunoc said the military launched the Joint Task Force Group Sulu to run after the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers and the operation intensified after the group released last year two kidnapped Germans in exchange for P250 million ransom.
Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela of Western Mindanao Command said civilian informants reported the release of Aliep to authorities after negotiations conducted by Malaysian agents with the help of Mamih and Mandi Sangkulah of the Moro National Liberation Front.
The ASG has been responsible for numerous kidnappings, bombings, murders and beheading of government troops in Mindanao.