Ten Indonesian sailors have been kidnapped by hijackers of an Islamist militant group. They were abducted in the waters off the southern Philippines.
The crew members were on the Brahma 12 tugboat and the Anand 12 barge carrying 7,000 tons of coal. The ship owners received a call from a member of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist group demanding a ransom.
In recent years the militant group, linked to al Qaeda, have been taking foreigners hostage in the Tawi-Tawi province.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a released statement the hijackers released tugboat but the whereabouts of barge and its ten crew members are still not known. Barge was coal-laden.
Philippine military spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said they are trying to confirm the hijacking of the boat and crew members.
Philippines News Agency reported citing civilians the barge was taken to Sulu province and it could be in the hands of Abu Sayyaf group.
Deputy commander of the regional task force Maj. Gen. Demy Tejares said, “A lot of information is pointing out that the victims were taken to Sulu.”
Recently a video surfaced showing pleading of foreigners for their countries to make the ransom payment for their release to Abu Sayyaf.