- Title: Islamist rebels free 3 Indonesian captives in southern Philippines
- Date: 2nd October 2016
- Summary: SULU, PHILIPPINES (OCTOBER 2, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** FREED INDONESIAN HOSTAGES SHAKING HANDS WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL HOSTAGES TAKING BLOOD PRESSURE TEST SOLDIER AND NURSES WATCH HOSTAGES WRITING NURSE TALKING TO HOSTAGES HOSTAGES TALKING JOURNALIST TALKING TO COLONEL MARIO AFRICA (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOAT CAPTAIN, FERI ARIFIN, SAYING: "Thank you to the people, the government (of the) Philippines with governor of Jolo and military army and MNLF Misuari. I have been rescued to me. Back to Indonesia, thanks all. Thanks for the attention, the people, for me, thank you." HOSTAGES BOARDING VEHICLE
- Embargoed: 17th October 2016 11:19
- Keywords: Indonesian hostages Islamist rebels release
- Location: SULU, PHILIPPINES
- City: SULU, PHILIPPINES
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00152B90ZP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS NOTE, PART VIDEO QUALITY AS INCOMING
Muslim rebels in southern Philippines linked to Islamic State freed three more Indonesian captives on Sunday (October 2) after a three-month ordeal, taking the number of hostages released to nine in the past two weeks.
They were handed over in Sulu, south of Davao, to Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Muslim rebel group that has signed a peace deal with the government. It was not clear whether a ransom was paid.
Boat captain Feri Arifin said he was grateful to the Philippine government for rescuing him alive.
During the past two weeks Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist group that has made vast sums of money from the kidnap business, had freed three Indonesians, two Filipinos and a Norwegian man snatched from a resort last year alongside two Canadians who were later beheaded.
The releases come as the military steps up offensives to flush out the rebels from their island strongholds of Sulu and Basilan.
President Rodrigo Duterte has made the destruction of the Abu Sayyaf the top security priority of the military, and has ruled out including it in a nationwide peace process because of its brutality and criminal activities.
Though originally formed with secessionist goals, Abu Sayyaf, which means "bearer of the sword", is seen by security experts more as a group of bandits than separatists.
The group, which has entrenched its network in the impoverished communities of the deep south, is still holding five Malaysians, four Filipinos, two Indonesians and one Netherlands national.
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