Abu Sayyaf strikes again, seizes 4 Malaysian sailors PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2016 14:52

The Philippines military on Saturday confirmed reports that four Malaysian sailors were kidnapped overnight by suspected Abu Sayyaf off Semporna district, Sabah, Malaysia.

In statement, Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City however said they are still trying to get more details about the kidnapping which happened five days after Abu Sayyaf gunmen seized 10 Indonesian boat crew off the archipelago’s southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi.

Sabah’s The Star said the kidnapping of the four Malaysian sailors happened  off Ligitan island, Semporna in the east coast of Sabah Friday night.

The Malaysian news portal quoted initial reports as saying eight Filipino gunmen in a speedboat jumped on board the Malaysian registered vessel, MV Masfive 6t that was sailing off Ligitan island, pointed their guns on them and forced the four Malaysian crew to alight.

The kidnappers’ speedboat with the four hostages was seen speeding towards Philippines waters.

The Star quoted an unnamed source as saying five other crew members — three from Myanmar and  two Indonesians - were left unharmed.

It said the four have been identified as Wong Teck Pang, 31, Wong Hung Song, 34,  Wong Teck Chi, 29, and Johnny  Lau Jung Hien, 21, although police have yet to confirm the identities. They are from Sarawak.

The foreign crew werre believed to have later sailed the boat back to Tawau District.

The ship with a crew of nine was returning to Tawau after sending a shipment of logs to Manila when suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen struck around  7p.m.

Maj. Tan said they are checking if the kidnappers of the Malaysian sailors are linked to the Sulu based Abu Sayyaf that has demanded a ransom of $1million  for the release of  the 10 Indonesian crewmen they kidnapped on Monday.

A military source who asked not to be identified as he is not authorized told DZT the Abu Sayyaf  kidnappers brought the 10 Indonesians to the coastal town of Kalingalan Caluang in Sulu, a stronghold of the al-qaeda linked group that has pledged allegiance to Daesh.

local hideout.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.