Gunmen in Philippines seize Vietnam sailors
MANILA: Gunmen abducted six Vietnamese sailors and shot another yesterday when a bulk carrier was intercepted in Philippine waters off a southern island stronghold of the militant Abu Sayyaf group, the coastguard said. The cargo ship was bound for Davao City in another part of the province of Mindanao, but was intercepted when passing through a strait off Basilan island by 10 armed men who came aboard and took hostages. “One of the crew was shot and was evacuated to a local hospital,” said Commander Jerome Cayabyab of the coastguard. He said the fate of the captives were uncertain after they were transferred to smaller, faster boats. It was the second kidnapping incident in the south in a week.
The Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that swears allegiance to Islamic State, said on Monday it kidnapped a German national. The military said a woman found dead in an abandoned yacht off an island near Basilan was believed to be his female companion. The latest attack on commercial shipping occurred just hours after the leaders of the Philippines and Malaysia agreed to step up maritime cooperation in their borders to stop the piracy. Abu Sayyaf rebels have since March been intercepting slow-moving tug boats towing coal barges in waters near the borders of Malaysia and the Philippines, taking captive more than a dozen Indonesian and Malaysian sailors.