Abu Sayyaf kidnaps 5 Indonesians off Sabah

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) — The Philippine military confirmed that local terror group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped five Indonesians off Sabah, Malaysia and is looking into the possibility that the suspects have reached Sulu province.

The kidnapping, which happened Thursday in waters near Tambisan Island close to Tawi-Tawi, had been reported by Malaysian and Singaporean media. Eight Indonesian fishermen were initially abducted by six men, but three of them were later released.

Mataas ‘yung probability, wala pa sa mainland Sulu nasa island pa ng Sulare, kasi immediately after the incident nakatawag agad ‘yung Malaysia authorities sa atin,” the military’s Western Mindanao Command chief LtGen Cirilito Sobejana told reporters Sunday.

[Translation: There is a high probability that they have not reached mainland Sulu and are still in Sulare island because Malaysian authorities immediately alerted us about the incident.]

Sobejana said the five who remain captive have not yet been spotted, but the speed boat which the fishermen identified to be the vessel used by their abductors was destroyed in an encounter in Sulu on Saturday which also resulted in the death of an Abu Sayyaf member.

The military rescued just last week Indonesian national Mohammad Farhan after he escaped from the Abu Sayyaf. Farhan’s two companions were rescued by the military in December.