KOTA KINABALU: Three Indonesian nationals taken from a Malaysian fishing vessel near the east coast Lahad Datu district of Sabah by Abu Sayyaf gunmen more than a month ago, have been freed.
Southern Philippines anti-kidnapping activist Prof Octavio Dinampo told The Star online that the three fishermen were released late Saturday.
He said the Indonesians – Lorence Koten, 34, Teodorus Kopong, 42, and Emanuel, 46 – were set free by their captors near the town of Patikul.
It is understood that a 30 million peso (RM2.7 million) ransom was paid to secure their freedom.
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) spokesman Prof Samsula Adju said the three men were already with the group’s chairman Nur Misuari in Indanan town.
He said the Abu Sayyaf had released the Indonesian captives to the MNLF and they would be handed over to the Indonesian government representatives in Jolo.
The three men were abducted on July 9 while fishing about 3.6 nautical miles off Kampung Sinakut near Lahad Datu.
On the five Malaysian tugboat crewmen abducted on July 18 near Lahad Datu, Octavio said they remained safe amid an ongoing offensive against the Abu Sayyaf gunmen.