ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Philippine government forces have rescued five Filipino fishmen from Abu Sayyaf group in southern Philippines, a military commander said on Monday.
The five victims had been held for 35 days since they were captured by the Abu Sayyaf group on Oct. 14 from their fishing boat near Sulu island. They were rescued by Philippine marines and naval forces last Friday.
Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, the Philippine Western Mindanao command chief, said the captives took chances to run away while military forces were shelling the terrorists with mortars.
Galvez told the reporters that the government forces continued to recover 17 more hostages, including a Dutch, a Vietnamese, five Indonesians and 10 Filipinos, still held captive in Sulu island, a known bastion of the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippine.
The Abu Sayyaf group was set up in the early 1990s. The militant group is notorious for kidnapping-for-ransom, bombings and killing their captives when their multi-million-dollar ransom demand is not paid.