Abu Sayyaf frees Malaysian cop
MANILA, Philippines—The military on Saturday said the extremist Abu Sayyaf has released a Malaysian policeman they kidnapped eight months ago from a Malaysian resort, because of the “relentless military operations” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Sulu and Basilan.
Quoting civilian informants in Sulu, AFP spokesperson Col. Harold Cabunoc said that Zakia Aliep, a member of Malaysia’s marine police, was released at 11:30 a.m. on Friday.
Aliep was taken to an unspecified place in Sabah, Malaysia, on a speedboat at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Cabunoc said.
“The AFP firmly believes the bandits were forced to release the victim due to the relentless pursuit operations conducted by Joint Task Force Sulu led by Col. Allan Arrojado,” Cabunoc said.
A military source said Malaysian intelligence authorities had confirmed to the AFP intelligence service the arrival of Aliep in that country.
Aliep was taken by the Abu Sayyaf who ambushed several Malaysian marine police officers guarding the Mabul Water Bungalow Resort in Sabah on July 12, 2014. A policeman was killed during the firefight.
A military intelligence report said the policeman was taken to an Abu Sayyaf jungle camp in Sulu’s Indanan township.
The kidnapping was one of several staged in resorts in Sabah by the Abu Sayyaf to seize hostages for ransom.
The Abu Sayyaf still holds a Dutch birdwatcher who was kidnapped in Tawi-Tawi three years ago. Cynthia D. Balana; AP
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