Rolando Del Torchio released
Filipino soldiers raise a Philippine flag at a seized camp of Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo island in southern Philippines in 2009. REUTERS/Handout/Western Mindanao Command

Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has acknowledged he will have to confront the Abu Sayyaf terror group, linked to the Islamic State (Isis/Daesh). The group, which numbers several hundred fighters, uses ransom money to fund its Islamic separatism campaign in southern Philippines.

"There will be a time that I will have to confront the Abu Sayyaf. The kidnapping must stop," Duterte said after meeting a Filipino woman who was freed after nine months of captivity, according to Reuters.

Duterte's comments came after Indonesia's foreign minister said a halt on coal shipments to the Philippines would remain until Manila could secure its waters after seven Indonesian sailors were kidnapped.

Earlier in June, Abu Sayyaf decapitated Canadian hostage Robert Hall in the Southern Philippines after a ransom deadline expired.

One of the group's leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, who has a $5m (€4.4m) bounty on his head, recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group operating in Syria and Iraq. However, the US has designated the group a terrorist entity for its connections to al-Qaeda.

In November Abu Sayyaf beheaded Malaysian hostage Bernard Then Ted Fen in an ostentatious act of violence, which has become the Isis calling card throughout the world. Then Ted Fen was killed in the jungle not far from the Indanan town in Sulu province on 17 November.

In October 2014 the group claimed to have been paid 250m peso (£3.4m) for the release of two German hostages who were held for seven months.