World Bulletin / News Desk
Three more Indonesians held captive by a ISIL-linked militant group in the Philippines’ majority Muslim south have been freed through the help of a fugitive Moro rebel leader, according to a presidential peace adviser.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza said the sailors were turned over to the governor of Sulu island province, Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan II, before noon Sunday.
He added that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari “personally called me and informed me about another breakthrough in the efforts to recover hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf Group”.
“I coordinated with Gen de la Vega, of Task Force Sulu to facilitate smooth turnover,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Dureza as saying in a statement.
Last month, the MNLF helped negotiate the release of five Abu Sayyaf captives, including Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad, three Indonesians fishermen and an Indonesian captain.
Earlier this year, the group beheaded two Canadian hostages abducted alongside Sekkingstad in September 2015 after million-dollar ransoms failed to be paid.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
It is one of two militant groups in the south to have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the MNLF-breakaway Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel group that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.
In 2013, Misuari’s MNLF faction laid siege to the majority-Christian city of Zamboanga to protest a peace process by the MILF, which Misuari claims leaves Muslims in the country’s south shortchanged in comparison to an earlier MNLF peace deal.
The MILF and some factions of the MNLF are involved in an ongoing peace process with the government of President Rodrigo Duterte.Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ekim 2016, 09:15