Philippine troops rescue two Indonesians held by Abu Sayyaf hinh anh 1Philippine troops rescue two abducted Indonesian sailors on December 22. (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine forces rescued two of three Indonesian hostages after a gunbattle with their captors from the Muslim militant group Abu Sayyaf on Jolo island, the Philippines’s Sulu province on December 22.

The pair, Maharudin Bin Lunani (aged 48), and Samiun bin Maneu (aged 26), were among three Indonesian fishermen abducted in September at gunpoint by the ransom-seeking militants off Malaysia’s Sabah state and taken to their jungle base in Sulu province.

The rescue of the Indonesians came after the military inflicted successive battle defeats recently to the Abu Sayyaf, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the US and the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf emerged in the late 1980s as an offshoot of the decades-long Muslim separatist insurgency in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. After losing its commanders early in battle, the Abu Sayyaf rapidly degenerated into a small but brutal group blamed for ransom kidnappings, beheadings and other acts of banditry. Most of its militant factions have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group./.