Philippine army frees Vietnamese sailor held by Abu Sayyaf

ZAMBOANGA • Philippine troops have rescued a Vietnamese sailor held hostage for seven months by Islamist militants in the country's south, the military said yesterday.

Mr Hoang Vo, 28, was rescued last Friday after an air strike and artillery fire on an Abu Sayyaf camp on the island of Basilan dispersed the kidnappers, regional military spokesman Jo-Ann Petinglay said. There is no way to independently verify the military's account of the rescue.

The Abu Sayyaf network has been kidnapping foreigners and locals for years and holding them for ransom on its remote island strongholds in the southern Philippines.

Mr Vo was seized last November along with five other Vietnamese crew members of a vessel that was boarded by the militants off Sibago island.

An Abu Sayyaf faction led by Isnilon Hapilon has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with its members among those holding parts of Marawi, in southern Philippines.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline 'Philippine army frees Vietnamese sailor held by Abu Sayyaf'. Print Edition | Subscribe