KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militants have released a Malaysian man who was abducted in June, following lengthy negotiations involving mediators from both countries, Malaysian media reported on Thursday.
Chan Sai Chuin, 32, was taken at gunpoint from his fish farm off the coast of Sabah on Borneo island, and taken to the southern Philippine island of Jolo.
Malaysia’s The Star newspaper published photos of Chan reunited with his wife, saying he was in good condition and had joked upon his release about the ordeal helping him lose some weight.
Chan’s abductors from the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist separatist group known for its frequent kidnappings for ransom along Sabah’s coast and adjacent waters, had reportedly demanded three million ringgit (S$1.13 million) for his release. Neither Malaysian nor Filipino officials could confirm a ransom was paid.
Malaysian authorities have become increasingly embarrassed over their failure to stop such abductions. They typically deny paying ransoms while giving no details on how such releases are secured.
Last weekend, Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra escaped from the Abu Sayyaf nearly three years after he was taken captive on a Philippine island group. The Abu Sayyaf is believed to be still holding several foreign and local hostages.
The group has long had links with Al-Qaeda and recently pledged allegiance to the radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group that now holds large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Philippine officials have said this is merely a ploy to raise their profile.