A Vietnamese sailor, who was held hostage for seven months by the Abu Sayyaf group, has been rescued by the Philippine troops last Friday, the military said on Saturday.
According to the regional military spokesman Jo-Ann Petinglay, Hoang Vo was rescued after an air strike and artillery fire on an Abu Sayyaf camp on the island of Basilan dispersed the kidnappers. However, there is no way to independently verify the military's account of the rescue.
Last November, Vo was seized along with five other Vietnamese crew members of a vessel that was boarded by the militants off Sibago island.
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.
The network has been kidnapping foreigners and locals for years and holding them for ransom on its remote island strongholds in the southern Philippines.
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.