Two Indonesian fishermen kidnapped

2016-11-06 17:39
Aerial shot taken from an air force helicopter of the coastal area of Jolo town, Sulu province, in southern island of Mindanao. (Mark Navales, AFP)

Aerial shot taken from an air force helicopter of the coastal area of Jolo town, Sulu province, in southern island of Mindanao. (Mark Navales, AFP)

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Kuala Lumpur - Gunmen have abducted two Indonesian fishermen off Malaysia's eastern Sabah state, a security official said Wednesday, an area where militants from the Abu Sayyaf group have been blamed for a series of kidnappings.

"The incident happened on Saturday off Sandakan", Wan Abdul Bari Abdul Khalid, head of Malaysia's Eastern Sabah Security Command told AFP.

"A group of five armed men abducted two fishing boat captains in separate raids on the high seas," he said.

The gunmen also stole the crew's handphones and the GPS systems on the boats.

"We do not know who carried out the latest abductions nor do we know where they may have been taken to. But we know it is a form of business for the kidnappers," Abdul Bari added.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to discuss possible joint security operations with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday, in a bid to stop the kidnappings along the two countries' sea border.

The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of militants formed in the southern Philippines in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. The group has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings-for-ransom.

Military sources say the Abu Sayyaf are currently holding a Dutch hostage, five Malaysians, two Indonesians and four Filipinos in their jungle stronghold.

The militants beheaded two Canadian hostages earlier this year, after failing to collect a ransom.

While the Abu Sayyaf's leaders have in recent years pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, analysts say it is mainly focused on a lucrative kidnapping business rather than religious ideology.

Read more on:    abu sayyaf  |  malaysia  |  indonesia

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