Army officials confirmed on Wednesday, December 5, that Joint Task Force Sulu troops operating in Luuk (Sulu province) found an Indonesian national who was abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants in September. The man reportedly escaped his abductors and hid in a remote village until he was identified by Filipino intelligence operatives.
Abu Sayyaf is a radical Islamist group and Islamic State (IS) affiliate that has been involved in kidnappings, bombings, and various other violent activities in southern and western Philippines, particularly in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawa-Tawa, and Palawan. The group is known to conduct land and maritime kidnapping raids and is estimated to have as many as ten hostages, including several foreign nationals.
The group abducted two Indonesian nationals on September 11 in the waters off Sabah state (Malaysia). The whereabouts of the second abductee are unknown as of early December.
As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago due to ongoing terrorist activity and regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups. Authorities advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.