SUSPECTED Abu Sayyaf bandits on Saturday released three Indonesian sailors they kidnapped in waters off Sabah in 2017 after reportedly being paid an unspecified amount of ransom.
Two of the three were identified as fishing boat captain Samsul Saguni, 40; and assistant captain Usman Yunus, 35.
Reports from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office said that the release of the three was facilitated by Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Dino Rey Pabayo and Sulu Police Provincial Office director, Senior Superintendent Pablo Labra II.
The three were initially released by their captors to the Moro National Liberation Front which in turn turned them over to former Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan. In turn, Tan turned over the three to the police and the military.
All three were immediately brought to the Camp Teodulo Bautista Hospital in Jolo City for a medical check-up before undergoing a routine debriefing.
The three were on board the Malaysian fishing boat FB Dwi Jaya 1 when seized by unidentified men armed with M-16 automatic rifles off the waters of Semporna Islands in Sabah.
Sources who talked on condition of anonymity said that one “Apo Mike” turned over the three to the MNLF after being given what they call an unspecified “board and lodging fee.”