Military confirms kidnapping of 7 Indonesian sailors

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) confirmed on Sunday the kidnapping of seven Indonesian sailors by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Major Filemon Tan Jr., Westmincom spokesman, said the incident took place around 11 a.m. Wednesday off Sulu.

According to reports, the Indonesian sailors were aboard Tugboat Charles 001 en route to Indonesia via the Sulu Sea coming from the Philippines when the armed men seized them.

“Information from the ground units suggested that the kidnap victims are possibly being held captive somewhere in Sulu,” Tan said through a text message.

The victims included the boat captain, chief engineer, assistant chief engineer, chief officer, and four crewmen.

“JTF (Joint Task Force) Sulu is now assessing the situation and will plan for the best course of action to address the given situation,” Tan added.

Wednesday’s incident was the third kidnapping incident this year perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the Sulu Sea.

The first incident was in April, while the second was in May.

All victims were released following reported payment of ransom. (Sunnex)

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