Abu Sayyaf kid­naps 5 Malaysian boat­men

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MALAYSIA’S po­lice chief said yes­ter­day that five tug­boat crew miss­ing since last week were ab­ducted by the Philip­pine mil­i­tant group Abu Sayyaf, which is no­to­ri­ous for re­peated kid­nap­pings in waters be­tween the two na­tions.

The five Malaysians were kid­napped from their ves­sel on July 18 off the coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Bor­neo is­land, In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Khalid Abu Bakar told re­porters.

“The five tug­boat crew have been kid­napped by the kid­nap-for­ran­som group from the south­ern Philip­pines,” he said, con­firm­ing re­ports that had emerged over the past week.

Abu Sayyaf, a loose net­work of Is­lamic mil­i­tants that has earned mil­lions of dol­lars from kid­nap­pings in re­cent years, has been blamed for a re­cent burst of ab­duc­tions.

In April and June, the group be­headed two Cana­dian tourists af­ter ran­som de­mands were not met, and a Malaysian was be­headed last year.

In May, the Abu Sayyaf re­leased 14 In­done­sian sailors who had been kid­napped in two high-seas raids, at­tacks that prompted In­done­sia, Malaysia and the Philip­pines to launch joint pa­trols.

Formed in the 1990s, the Abu Sayyaf is a rad­i­cal off­shoot of a Mus­lim sep­a­ratist in­sur­gency in the south of the mainly Catholic Philip­pines.

Its lead­ers have pledged al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State, but an­a­lysts say the Abu Sayyaf mainly fo­cuses on lu­cra­tive kid­nap­pings.

Eastern Sabah is just a short boat ride from is­lands of the south­ern Philip­pines where govern­ment au­thor­ity is weak and ban­ditry com­mon. –

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