(From AFP)

Four Malaysian sailors held for more than two months by a notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines were released on Wednesday, the Philippine military said.

The kidnappings of the Malaysian sailors prompted Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to launch joint patrols in their waters and set up a security hotline

The Abu Sayyaf, a loose network of Islamic militants that has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years, released the sailors just after midnight on Jolo island, one of its strongholds, according to regional military spokesman Filemon Tan.

The sailors were then taken by speedboat about 300 kilometers (200 miles) back to Malaysia, Tan said.

He confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped the sailors, but could not say if ransoms were paid. Read More

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