MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military said the militant Abu Sayyaf group released a Malaysian police constable on Saturday, eight months after they kidnapped him from a Malaysian resort.
Zakia Aliep, a member of the Malaysia’s marine police, was brought back to Malaysia’s Sabah state early Saturday, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc. He was quoting reports from civilian informants in Sulu province in the southern Philippines near Sabah.
Cabunoc credited Philippine military operations in Sulu with the hostage’s release.
Abu Sayyaf gunmen wearing military fatigues ambushed several Malaysian marine police officers guarding the Mabul Water Bungalow Resort in Sabah resort on July 12, killing one policeman and seizing Aliep as they escaped.
A Philippine intelligence report said the constable was taken to an Abu Sayyaf jungle camp in Sulu’s Indanan township.
The raid was one of several on resorts in Sabah staged by the Abu Sayyaf to seize hostages for ransom.
The group, which has an estimated 400 members, has had links with al-Qaida. It has turned to ransom kidnappings and extortion to survive following years of setbacks from U.S. military-backed offensives.
The group is still holding a Dutch birdwatcher who was seized in southern Tawi-Tawi province, farther south of Sulu, three years ago.