South Korean, Philippine hostages released by militants: Manila

January 14, 2017 9:30 pm

Captain Chul Hong Park (L), a South Korean national, and 2nd officer Filipino Glenn Alindajao (2 L), two hostages released in Jolo Sulu, arrive in Davao City with Philippine Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza (2nd R) on January 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Philippines has announced the release of a South Korean ship captain and a Filipino crewman, who were kidnapped three months ago by Daesh-linked militants in the Southeast Asian state.
Jesus Dureza, a senior aide to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, announced on Saturday that the two hostages were set free in Sulu, a remote archipelago known as a militant hideout, and transferred to the city of Davao.
“We were almost hopeless but I am thankful we were able to come home safely with the help of Sir Dureza and the president for assisting us,” said the 31-year-old Filipino hostage Glenn Alindajao during a press briefing.
Dureza further asserted that the freed captives would be flown to the capital,  to undergo debriefing, adding that the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), another militant group which is in peace talks with the government, had facilitated the release.
The presidential peace adviser also reiterated the government’s no-ransom policy, suggesting that no money was paid to the Takfiri Abu Sayyaf militant group, which mainly relies on kidnappings for its finances.

Captain Chul Hong Park (face covered), a South Korean national, and 2nd officer Filipino Glenn Alindajao (C), two hostages released in Jolo Sulu, are presented to members of the media in Davao City by Philippine peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza on Jan 14, 2017.  (Photo by AFP)

In October, the Philippine military announced that gunmen identifying themselves as Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped the pair from a South Korean cargo ship, the first such attack on a large merchant vessel in the waters between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
The International Maritime Bureau said earlier this week that the number of maritime abductions climbed to a 10-year high in 2016, with waters off the southern Philippines becoming increasingly dangerous.
Established in the early 1990s, Abu Sayyaf is listed as a terrorist group by the Philippines. It was once regarded as an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
Besides kidnappings, the ultra-violent terrorists, who pledged alliance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the summer of 2014, have also been involved in other criminal activities, including rape and drug trafficking, in what they describe as their battle for an independent province in the Philippines.
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