LAHAD DATU ― Five Malaysian crew members whose ship was found drifting off Lahad Datu have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf militant group, a Filipino official said.
Filipino news portal Philstar reported that Philippines’ presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza, however, did not divulge further information about the abduction at a media briefing yesterday in Manila.
“And the Indonesians are still there,” he was quoted as saying in the Philstar news portal, likely referring to the three Indonesian crewmen who were abducted in the waters off Lahad Datu on July 9.
In the news report, Dureza also said that a group from the region, the Moro National Liberation Front, has expressed its intentions to work with the Philippines’ force to combat the terror group.
“It’s not (a) simple military action…you just can’t bomb anybody there,” he was quoted as saying.
It was reported that an empty tugboat with its engine still running was found abandoned Monday in the waters of Dent Haven, Tambisan, Lahad Datu.
The five missing Malaysian sailors were identified as Abdul Rahim Summas, 62; Tayudin Anjut, 45; Fandy Bakran, 26; Mohamad Jumadil Rahim, 23; all from Tawau, while Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, is from Pahang.
National newswire Bernama reported Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying in New Delhi that no ransom demands have been made yet in the latest abduction in Sabah waters.
Previously, four Sarawakian sailors were taken hostage from their vessel in the waters off Pulau Ligitan on April 1. They were released three months later.