The Abu Sayyaf group are known to use small boats to attack and board civilian vessels. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

A group of three kidnapped Indonesian fishermen were set free in the southern Philippines yesterday.

In January 2017, Hamadam Bin Salim, 34, Subande Satto, 27, and 41-year-old Sudarlan Samansung were on board a speedboat off the waters of Tawi-Tawi island, when they were taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group, AFP reported.

The three hostages were released yesterday in the town of Indanan in Sulu, Philippines. Their release is thought to have followed pressure applied by the Filipino military on Abu Sayyaf, Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana was quoted as telling AFP.

A statement from the military said the Indonesians were taken to a military hospital for checkups before being handed over to an Indonesian diplomat, who will accompany them to the embassy in Manila.

No ransom was paid to secure the release of the hostages.

The Abu Sayyaf group operates in waters near Malaysia and the Philippines, and is made up of militants active since the 1990s. They were founded with funding from Osama bin Laden and have profited from kidnappings.

Abu Sayyaf currently holds 11 hostages, including one Vietnamese.

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