Another Indonesian sailor kidnapped in Sulu sea
UNIDENTIFIED gunmen have kidnapped another Indonesian sailor in the perilous waters of the Sulu sea near Borneo where dozens of seafarers have been abducted by Islamist extremists in recent months, authorities said yesterday.
The kidnapping took place on August 3 in waters off the northeast of Sabah state, on the Malaysian side of Borneo island, Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia said.
“[The vessel] was intercepted by a boat carrying four armed men,” ambassador Herman Prayitno said.
The kidnappers took the Indonesian captain after failing to get the RM10,000 (US$2500) they demanded, Mr Herman said. They released the two other crew, an Indonesian and a Malaysian.
Indonesia’s foreign ministry said it was still trying to find out which group was responsible.
The kidnapping is the latest in a string of incidents in the stretch of water where groups of armed men from the Philippines have ambushed fishing vessels and seized Malaysians and Indonesians for ransom.
Ten other Indonesians kidnapped in recent months by the Philippine Abu Sayyaf extremist group are still being held.
Jakarta has banned Indonesian flagged vessels from sailing to the Philippines and pushed for the implementation of joint maritime patrol in the vital waterway.
A handful of Malaysian sailors have also been kidnapped this year.
The Abu Sayyaf, who are based on remote and mountainous southern Philippine islands, this year beheaded two Canadian hostages after their multi-million-dollar ransom demands were not met.
In 2015 they killed a Malaysian hostage.
The group is a loose network of a few hundred militants, formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. –