Abu Sayyaf militants freed a Filipino hostage on December 30, 2018, according to reports on Thursday, January 3. The hostage, who was released in Sulu province, was reportedly kidnapped in September 2017 in Zamboanga del Norte province.
Abu Sayyaf militants are suspected of holding three foreign and two Filipino hostages in Sulu province. The release came as President Rodrigo Duterte activated a new army infantry division to defeat Abu Sayyaf after nearly two decades of unsuccessful attempts.
Abu Sayyaf's criminal and terrorist activities include kidnappings, bombings, and beheadings in western Mindanao. Its main theaters of activity are the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
As a reminder, authorities advise against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago due to the risk of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. Individuals are advised to adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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