Various sources are reporting that the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, who are affiliated with Islamic State, freed four sailors on Tuesday night, after rounds of negotiations with Malaysian and Filipino negotiators.The same Malaysian news source, The Star, who broke the story, are reporting in their follow up that no ransom was paid to the terrorist group and that the sailors were brought back by Police Special Forces.
In fact, the same source details the operation, which, over the last two-months since their kidnapping, mentions that there had been a trade ban placed along with an operation by the Philippines military in order to push out Abu Sayyaf from their stronghold in Jolo, which included a threat of airstrikes.
The article goes on to explain that the ban forced prices to inflate and the community there began to put pressure on the terrorist group to release the sailors.
"The four Sarawakians -- brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Wong Teck Chii, 29, their cousin, Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21, and Wong Hung Sing, 34 -- were released at the coastal village of Patikul on Tuesday night."In 2014, after the popularity of ISIS rose from their takeover of territory in Syria and Iraq, another terrorist group in the Southern Philippines that has long called itself Abu Sayyaf swore an oath of allegiance to the head of the ISIS group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Abu Sayyaf's previous two leaders, who initially started the group, have already been killed, and the group's new leader, Isnilon Hapilon, felt it was time to absorb a new ideology in order to send the message that they want to establish an Islamic province.
According to an article by Rappler, this is not the first time they've sworn their allegiance to the caliphate, as Abu Sayyaf itself has been around in its earliest form since 1991.
On the first of April, Abu Sayyaf reportedly kidnapped four Sarawakian sailors from the island of Pulau Ligitan in the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Abu Sayyaf seized the four from a tugboat, which at the time was on its way to Sarawak from the Philippines.
Initially, at least one of the tugboat companies had agreed to pay for the release of 10 other sailors who had been kidnapped around the same time that the Sarawakian saliors had, which obviously raised some concern from the government and local groups.
It's been reported that Abu Sayyaf initially demanded ransom for the four sailors released this week, but then ended up lowering it at least three times during the negotiations.
During this time, Abu Sayyaf reportedly moved the four sailors throughout the mountainous area to keep from being detected.
These reports of negotiations can also be seen in an article by The Jakarta Post, which explains the relationship between the government and the region in the Southern Philippines, where they use diplomacy, rather than force.
The article confirms the actions between the Indonesian and the Filipino governments to get the hostages back; where, rather than paying ransoms, they work on developing the area for more modernization and they've even given Korans to the kidnappers as a sign of respecting Islamic culture, but to show them a different view of Islam which they feel will eventually take the wind out of their sails.
The soldiers who were ambushed recently were members of the 64th Infantry Battalio who were on "a logistic run and were returning to their headquarters" when shot at by three suspected Abu Sayyaf members," who escaped on a bike according to Inquirer.
[Image by STR/AP Photo]