ZAMBOANGA: An Indonesian sailor held captive by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the southern Philippines has escaped during a military offensive, ending nine months in captivity, the military said yesterday.
Troops engaged an Abu Sayyaf unit in a gunbattle near the town of Patikul on Jolo island late Thursday, allowing Julkipli, 27, to give his captors the slip, Lt-Gen Narciso Abaya said.
Several hours later, a Marine unit found Julkipli wandering near a highway on Jolo, more than 900km south of Manila, Abaya said.
He was among four Indonesian sailors seized by the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf gunmen from a coal barge in southern Philippine last June.
A second hostage also escaped, while Julkipli said another hostage, Muntu Jacobos Winowatan, died after being hit by crossfire during a military offensive in February.
The fate of the fourth, Pieter Lerrech, remains unknown. – AFP
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