MANILA – Ten Filipino fishermen were abducted by members of terrorist group Abu Sayyaf off Sabah, Malaysia on Tuesday morning, Sabah police chief Omar Mammah said.
According to Mammah, the heavily armed kidnappers snatched the group of fishermen in the early hours of Tuesday as they sailed on two boats off Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu, Sabah. Six others escaped.
Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, is notorious for kidnappings of foreigners. The group is demanding large ransoms and has beheaded several hostages.
In the recent years, there have been reports of kidnappings in the waters between southern Philippines and the Malaysian part of Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it is still in the process of verifying whether there was really a kidnapping incident the other day.
“This is still an allegation. We are still trying to validate the report,” said Colonel Armel Tolato, commander of the Philippine Marine Ready Fleet Sulu.
The Special Operations Task Force of the AFP is being diverted to Tawi-Tawi to scan the area. The Joint Task Forces Tawi-Tawi and Sulu, on the other hand, have been alerted of the incident./PN