Philippine security forces have rescued two Malaysian hostages on Thursday, who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf extremist group almost eight months ago. Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement that a squad of marines found Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim bin Sumas, 62, at around 2 am, when they were assaulting about 30 militants in a marshland district in Kalinggalang Caluang, Sulu province, south of the capital Manila. The militants report to Alhabsy Misaya, the sub-leader of Abu Sayyaf group.
On July 19, the two Malaysian hostages were abducted from a tugboat, Serudung 3, off Lahad Datu in Sabah. The extremists had demanded 100 million pesos (S$2.8 million) in ransom. However, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, the military spokesman said that no ransom was paid.
"They were clearly rescued. They were found in a marshland, and they were very scared and very exhausted," he told the ABS-CBN News Channel.
According to the military, the Abu Sayyaf group is still holding at least 24 hostages, including 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch, a Japanese, and two Indonesians.
The Abu Sayyaf group, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is an insurgent group known for kidnapping foreigners for ransom and has defied more than a decade of US-backed military offensives against it. In recent years, the group has conducted a lucrative kidnapping spree.
It has capitalised on decades of instability in the southern Philippines and generated tens of millions of dollars from piracy and ransom payments. The militants use the money to buy arms, high-powered boats and modern navigation equipment to avoid detection with ease.
In February, the terrorist group beheaded an elderly German sailor, Jurgen Kantner after a deadline for a US$600,000 (S$840,000) ransom passed.