Malaysian woman released by Abu Sayyaf
Muslim militants in the Philippines have released a Malaysian woman held for nearly half a year.
Thien Nyuk Fun and a Malaysian man were abducted in May from a restaurant in Sabah in the Malaysian section of Borneo, with Philippine group Abu Sayyaf being blamed. The organisation is well known for kidnappings.
The Philippine police said restaurant manager Thien, 50, was set free on the remote island of Jolo on Sunday.
The man captured at the same time was not released.
“We were all very emotional and happy when we met our mother,” her son Chung Chin Loong, 31, told the Malaysian Star.
He said his mother was “doing fine” but was tired and needed not to be disturbed.
“She is now taking her time to rest, catch up with us and we do not want to speak to anyone about the incident at this point of time,” he said.
“We were told at the last minute that she was on her way back with security forces and we were all very shocked, emotional and happy at the same time. We immediately prepared some of her favourite dishes.”
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman said: “I wish to thank all of them for working hard to bring Thien home.”
No explanation of the release or the abductors was given.
Jolo, 1,000 kilometres from Manila and 300km from Sabah, is Abu Sayyaf’s main stronghold.
Abu Sayyaf has previously only released detainees after the payment of large ransoms with beheadings carried out if demands are not met.
Thien’s freedom followed months of negotiations, Bernama reported.
Founded in the 1990s with the assistance of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Abu Sayyaf has also been blamed for some of the worst bombings in Philippine history.
The group holds two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina seized in the southern Philippines in September, as well as a Dutch birdwatcher detained in 2012.
An Italian pizzeria owner abducted in October is also believed to be a captive.
Abu Sayyaf has staged cross-border raids into Malaysia before.
Its gunmen seized 21 European and Asian tourists from a diving resort on Sipadan island in 2000.
The hostages were released in batches after a ransom was paid the following year.
A 74-year-old South Korean, who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in January, was found dead earlier this month in Jolo after apparently dying from illness while in custody.