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Two Malaysian Abu Sayyaf hostages found

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MANILA: Two ailing Malaysian seamen held hostage by Filipino Muslim militants for eight months were found yesterday aboard a boat adrift off the southern Philippines, the local military said.

Mr Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Mr Abdurahim Sumas, 62, were abandoned by the Abu Sayyaf gunmen before dawn near their coastal forest hideout on the remote island of Pata, a military statement said.

"The... kidnap victims are weak and in a sickly state," regional military commander, Major-General Carlito Galvez, said in the statement.

They were receiving treatment at a military hospital in the area for ailments that General Galvez did not specify.

He said a Philippine Navy patrol boat found the pair, eight months after they were abducted along with three other crewmen of a tugboat that was boarded by gunmen near the sea border between the two countries.

Their recovery followed a Philippine military operation against the kidnappers on a nearby island early last month that left eight gunmen dead, he said.

The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, have been kidnapping people for ransom for decades.

Maritime security officials have warned that the region is in danger of a "Somalia-type" situation unless action is taken.

The International Maritime Bureau said in January the number of maritime kidnappings hit a 10-year high in 2016, with waters off the southern Philippines becoming increasingly dangerous. - AFP