Authorities verifying report ASG abducted Indonesian sailors anew
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police and military authorities in Western Mindanao said they were ascertaining the veracity of reports that the Abu Sayyaf had taken new foreign hostages.
Major Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said based on a report they got, the supposed kidnapping took place on the Philippine and Indonesia sea border and involved Indonesian sailors.
An Inquirer source said based on a report from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica), the tugboat Charles 00, with 13 crew members, was returning to East Kalimantan in Indonesia after delivering coal to the Philippines when armed men aboard two motorized boats fired on it and boarded it.
The source said the report, tagged as “for verification,” added that seven of the crew were forcibly taken.
The Nica cited a report from the Indonesia Crossing Border Station in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; and Indonesian media as its sources.
The Indonesian media reported that the tugboat’s captain had phoned his wife and told her that he and his 12 men were intercepted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen. It was the wife who reportedly told authorities about the incident.
The boat’s captain, who was not identified, also claimed the gunmen wanted RM20 million (approximately P231 million) for their release.
Tugboat Charles 00 is reportedly operated by PT Rusianto Bersaudara, which has offices in Jakarta, Samarinda and Banjarmasin. The company transports coal to various parts of Asia./rga
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