Militants free 3 Indonesian hostages in southern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Officials say Muslim militants in the southern Philippines have freed three Indonesian men they kidnapped at sea early last year.

Police say the Indonesians were freed Friday with the help of the Moro National Liberation Front, a rebel group that signed a peace deal with the Philippine government.

The released men are to be handed to the Indonesian ambassador in southern Zamboanga city later Sunday.

Efforts by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to beef up security along their sea border have considerably eased piracy and kidnappings in the past months that were blamed primarily on the Abu Sayyaf group, which is blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization.