Officials from Joint Task Force Sulu announced on Saturday, April 6, that two Indonesian hostages being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu province have been recovered. Security forces engaged militants on the island of Simisa on the afternoon (local time) of Friday, April 5, who attempted to flee with the two hostages by swimming to another island. According to officials, one hostage drowned and the other was safely rescued. However, there are conflicting reports that the deceased victim may have been killed in the crossfire. At least three militants were also killed in the operation. Further military operations are expected in the coming days and weeks in Sulu province in the near term.
Abu Sayyaf is an Islamic State-affiliated jihadist militant group operating primarily in the southern Philippines. The group'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.
Individuals in the southern Philippines are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, anticipate continued military operations, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. As a reminder, several Western governments advise against travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to the risk of kidnapping and terrorism.
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