Abu Sayyaf releases Filipino hostage but keeps 8-year-old son in captivity

Sources say six Vietnamese sailors are still held by the Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan.

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Abu Sayyaf group released a Filipino government employee who they held hostage for three months, but kept his 8-year-old son captive in the Philippines' Sulu province, the military said on Wednesday.

Major Filemon Tan, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command of the Philippine army, said the victim, identified as Elmer Ybanez Romoc, was released on Monday evening in the town of Jolo. On Tuesday morning, Romoc boarded a ship from Jolo to Zamboanga City and reunited with his family.

The Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped Romoc along with his wife Nora and son Ricson in Zamboanga on 5 August. However, they released Nora on 23 August. Reports said three of them were abducted by Abu Sayyaf team, led by Adore Abdulla and Jaber Susukan.

Manila Bulletin reported that Romoc was an employee of the Payao Municipal Treasurer's Office in Zamboanga. It is not yet clear if any ransom was paid for Romoc's release.

The Abu Sayyaf group, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had abducted a German couple recently. They were taken hostage from their yacht named Rockall, off Sulu forests. Later, the locals recovered the woman's naked body, with signs of sexual assault, from the yacht.

According to sources, the militants group is still holding six Vietnamese sailors hostage in Basilan. The captives were spotted at the boundary of Barangays Macalang and Baguindan in Tipo-Tipo town.