Malaysian hostage rescued from Muslim militants in southern Philippines dies of injuries

MANILA - A Malaysian rescued by Philippine security forces last week from Muslim militants who had held him captive for four months died of his wounds on Tuesday (April 9).

A statement issued by the Western Mindanao Command said Jari Abdullah, 24, died at around 1pm at a hospital in Zamboanga City.

His family signed a waiver consenting to remove him from life support, when it became apparent he would not recover.

Mr Jari managed to flee during a clash last Thursday between a Marine unit and the militants holding him on Simisa island, in the southern province of Sulu.

But he was shot by his captors as he ran away, and left for dead.

Government troops pursuing the militants rescued him and took him to a hospital in Jolo before he was airlifted to Zamboanga City, according to news reports.

The next day, security forces rescued Mr Heri Ardiansyah, 19, an Indonesian who had been taken along with Mr Jari from their fishing trawler in waters off eastern Sabah, near the Philippines' Tawi-Tawi island chain on Dec 5 last year (2018).

But a third man, Mr Hariadin, 45, who was also Indonesian, drowned. The pair were trying to swim from Simisa Island to another islandalong with their captors when they were spotted by troops, according to a military report.

Three militants were killed in the ensuing firefight.

The three fishermen had been taken by the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria.

The group, which has a separatist agenda, has capitalised on decades of instability in the war-torn southern island of Mindanao to generate tens of millions of dollars from piracy and ransom payments.

Since it turned kidnapping into a lucrative trade, it has killed an American, a Malaysian, two Canadians and a German.

A faction led by militant Isnilon Hapilon took part in the assault on the southern Islamic city of Marawi in May 2017.

Hapilon's fighters, along with those from Marawi's prominent Maute clan and extremists from abroad, stormed and took control of a quarter of Marawi for five months, in what became the Philippines' biggest security crisis in years.

Hapilon was killed as the Marawi war drew to a close. But other Abu Sayyaf factions that did not participate in the Marawi siege have remained active in Sulu and their other stronghold, Jolo province.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.