British man and his wife rescued in Philippines after gun battle

The couple was kidnapped at gunpoint from a beach resort last month, sparking a massive search.

Allan Hyrons and his wife Wilma pictured after their rescue. Pic: Armed Forces of the Philippines

(SKY News) – A British man in his 70s and his Filipino wife who were abducted by gunmen last month have been rescued by soldiers in the Philippines.

Regional military commander lieutenant general Cirilito Sobejana said his troops were involved in a brief gun battle with Islamic State-affiliated Abu Sayyaf militants before Allan Hyrons and his wife, Wilma, were safely rescued in the southern province of Sulu.

A photo released by the military showed the couple smiling in a military camp and talking with generals and other army officers in Sulu.

The couple will undergo a medical check-up and will be interviewed by military officials before they are released, Mr Sobejana said.

Armed militants abducted the pair from their beach resort in southern Zamboanga del Norte province in October.

Witnesses said they were taken from a hut at gunpoint and dragged to a motorboat in the night.

The abduction sparked a massive search in the region, which is located approximately 1,500km south of the capital, Manila.

The Islamist Abu Sayyaf group has often been behind kidnapping foreigners for ransom and has carried out suicide bombings in the region.

A sustained campaign against such groups by security forces has reduced the problem in recent years, but incidents continue to occur.

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