Abu Sayyaf frees 10 Indonesian hostages

Manila, May 1 (IANS) The Philippines-based extremist group Abu Sayyaf on Sunday released 10 Indonesian sailors it had held hostage.

The maritime company for which the Indonesian hostages were working and whose vessel was hijacked towards the end of March, paid a million-dollar ransom to Abu Sayyaf on Friday for their release, EFE news reported.

Sources claimed the sailors were handed over to authorities earlier on Sunday in front of the residence of the governor of the island of Jolo.

The release comes six days after Abu Sayyaf decapitated a 68-year-old Canadian hostage, John Ridsdel, after the deadline it set to receive a $6.4 million ransom for him expired.

Ridsdel was abducted along with fellow countryman Robert Halla, Norway’s Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipina, Marites Flor, in September last year.

The jihadi group carries out frequent kidnappings to secure ransoms with which it finances its operations.

It is still holding nine other foreigners captive — four Indonesian fishermen, four Malaysians and Dutch national Ewold Hurn — as well as Halla and Sekkingstad.

Abu Sayyaf was formed in 1991 by a small group of veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and has been blamed for some of the bloodiest attacks in the Philippines.



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