MANILA, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Philippine government troops rescued on Monday the 70-year-old British man and his Filipino wife kidnapped on Oct. 4 at a beach resort in Zamboanga del Sur province in the southern Philippines.
Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, the commander of the Philippine military's Western Mindanao Command, said Allan Arthur Hyrons and his wife Wilma were abducted at gunpoint by unidentified armed men on Oct. 4 at a beach resort they own in Tukuran town in Zamboanga del Sur province.
Sobejana said the couple were rescued shortly before 9 a.m. local time this Monday morning in a village in Sulu province of the southern Philippines. "They will undergo medical examinations and custodial debriefing," he added.
Sobejana said Monday's rescue operations last only 10 minutes. "It was a running gun battle and they left the two hostages as the (bandits) scampered away," he said, adding that a pursuit operation continues to track down the kidnappers.
Sobejana said the Philippine military launched a rescue operation in Sulu province over the weekend to find the Hyrons. The two days of fighting between troops and the Abu Sayyaf bandits resulted in the killings of six terrorists and the wounding of seven soldiers.
Abu Sayyaf is considered the smallest but the most violent of the extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has an estimated 400 fighters, is active in the impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
The group is responsible for the series of kidnappings-for-ransom, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the southern Philippines.