Three Malaysian Hostages Freed in the Southern Philippines
Philippine troops on Wednesday recovered three Malaysians abducted off Sabah state by Filipino Muslim guerrillas last month, military sources told AFP.
An AFP reporter saw dive resort manager Mohamed Noor Sulaiman, 43, divemaster Joseph Ongkinoh, 40, and contractor Kan Wei Chong, 35, inside an army base in this southern island in early afternoon.
The captives were rescued in the village of Mabahay near Talipao town, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, after a three-hour firefight Wednesday morning, a military intelligence officer said.
There was no immediate word on casualties but the hostages were unharmed.
A military helicopter brought the three to downtown Jolo for a debriefing. They were later flown out by military helicopters for nearby Zamboanga city, the officer said.
An AFP reporter said the three looked haggard and were bearded as they were led into the waiting helicopters accompanied by army Colonel Romeo Tolentino, who led the assault in Mabahay.
The Abu Sayyaf raided the dive resort of Pandanan off Sabah on September 10 and abducted the three Malaysians.
The rebels are still holding an American and a Filipino dive instructor, who was among the Abu Sayyaf's original batch of hostages snatched from the Malysian resort of Sipadan, near Pandanan, in April -- JOLO, Philippines (AFP)
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