Abu Sayyaf freed a Tausug trader on Wednesday morning after holding him captive for almost a year.
Araji Maani was released in Barangay Wanih Piyanjihan in Parang town on the island of Sulu – the same place where he was kidnapped on July 27 last year said Major Filemon Tan, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.
Major Tan did not confirm whether Mr Maani, a local money lender, was set free following the payment of a ransom. His release may have been pre-planned to coincide with the end of Ramadan. Some reports are also stating that increased AFP pressure on the terrorist group forced their hand.
At present, the Abu Sayyaf is thought to be holding three Filipinos and nine foreigners, including Norweigan Kjartan Sekkingstad, captive.
In a separate incident on Wednesday morning, an Abu Sayyaf militant was killed after the group engaged in a five-minute fire fight with members of the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Maligay in Patikul, Sulu.