The captain of a Filipino cargo ship was rescued on Saturday (25 March) by soldiers of the armed forces after he was abducted two days ago by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants.

Aurelio Agacac was rescued by forces in the remote village of Basakan in southern province of Basilan, Colonel Juvymax Uy, commander of the military's 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force said.

Uy added the abductors released Agacac to delay troops from pursuing them and avoid a firefight.

"The victim looked alright," he said and added that they had held a wounded suspect during the chase, who died while being transported to hospital in Basilan.

However, Uy did not confirm whether the abductors were members of Abu Sayyaf.

The development comes two days after a group of suspected Abu Sayyaf members seized the tugboat M/T Tug R9 on Thursday while it was sailing near Sibago Island off Basilan en route to General Santos City. The militants took Agacac and his companion Laurencio Tiro hostage and fled the scene.

Their abduction came hours after two Malaysian sailors – Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 62 – were rescued from the Isis-linked group, who kept them captive for eight months in Sulu province.

The Islamist terror group is known for kidnapping, beheading, carrying out bomb attacks and demanding ransom for the release of hostages including foreign nationals. The group is believed to be holding at least 28 people captive, including some Indonesians and Malaysians, Reuters reported.

Ship hijacking
The Philippines army arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf member believed to be involved in a latest hijacking incident where two Filipino tugboat crewmen were abducted off Basilan province on 23 March - File photo Antara Photo Agency/Reuters