December 12, 2016 / 11:54 AM / 8 months ago

Philippine militants free two Indonesian captives - military

MANILA (Reuters) - Islamist militants in the Philippines on Monday freed two Indonesians who were kidnapped six months ago, after the rebels came under pressure from the Philippine army, a military spokesman said.

The two were among seven Indonesian crewmen who rebels from the Abu Sayyaf militant group kidnapped from a tug sailing in waters off the southern Philippines in June, said Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

Tan said the militants released the two "after being pressured by non-stop operations", and with the help of members of a rival Muslim group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The two were released to an MNLF leader and later handed over to a government official on Sulu island.

They would be turned over to Indonesian authorities, the military said.

The MNLF also helped the Philippine government in securing the release in September of a Norwegian who the militants kidnapped from a beach resort.

Abu Sayyaf militants, notorious for kidnappings, beheadings and extortion, operate on remote Muslim islands in the south of the largely Christian Philippines.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz

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