Stepping up their offensive against the terror group Abu Sayyaf, armed forces of the Philippines rescued three Malaysians from captivity of the Islamist militants. On Monday (27 March), the military said that the three captives were abducted from a ship eight months ago and were freed on Sunday from Jolo Island in southern Philippines.

However, they did not provide any details of the operation. According to Reuters, the militants now do not have any Malaysian citizens in captivity. On 23 March, the Filipino military had rescued two sailors – Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdurahim Bin Sumas, 62 – from the rebels, who kept them captive for eight months in Sulu province.

The development comes two days after a Filipino cargo ship captain– Aurelio Agacac – was freed from the extremists, in the remote village of Basakan in southern province of Basilan.

The Islamist terror has become notorious for kidnapping, beheading and carrying out bomb attacks and demanding ransom for the release of hostages.

Recently, German national Jurgen Kantner was beheaded by the group as their demand for ransom was not met.

According to a military official, the 70-year-old sailing enthusiast was killed by militants as they did not receive $600,000 (£477,554) as ransom.

The Isis-linked Islamist group currently holds more than 20 people captive, including some from Netherlands, Indonesian, Philippines and Japan.

In late January, President Rodrigo Duterte had asked the separatist groups not to shelter Isis militants and had warned that it could have a catastrophic effect on civilians. Following intelligence reports about the rebels colluding with Islamic State militants to expand their network in the Philippines, the president said that the country would not allow the extremists to "contaminate" the country.

abu sayyaf philippines
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to go full force on an operation against Abu Sayyaf as 15 soldiers were killed in the operation, underway since 26 August 2016 Reuters