LUUK, Philippines, Aug. 17 (UPI) — An Indonesian sailor threatened with beheading escaped his Abu Sayyaf abductors on an island in the southern Philippines, officials said Wednesday.
Mohammad Sayfan, 28, escaped from a mangrove area in Barangays Bual and Bato-Itum, both in Luuk, in Sulu province, said Maj. Filemon Tan, a Western Mindanao Command spokesperson. He was rescued by local residents who found him trapped in fishnets along the shoreline, Tan said.
Sayfan was abducted from a tugboat near the Philippines maritime border with Malaysia and Indonesia in June, along with six other sailors.
He was among 16 people thought to be in the hands of the jihadist bandits in the Muslim region in Sulu.
In May, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed to coordinate patrols in the region because of kidnappings, piracy and other crime.
On Tuesday, Abu Sayyaf gunmen are suspected of abducting a public elementary school teacher while she was on her way to work in the village of Kanague in Patikul town, also in Sulu province, police said.