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Two Indonesian fishermen abducted off Sabah (Authorities suspect Abu Sayyaf )


Two fishermen of an Indonesian vessel have reportedly been abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits off Sabah waters, authorities said yesterday.

According to Malaysian media, the Indonesians were abducted at gunpoint by two masked gunmen who stormed a fishing vessel shortly after it docked at the Pulau Gaya jetty near Semporna between midnight and 1:00 a.m., Tuesday.

Sabah police are investigating whether the abductors are linked to the Jolo-based Abu Sayyaf group or to criminal groups from southern Philippines (Tawi-Tawi) known to extort fishing vessel owners for the release of their crew members.

Philippine authorities are coordinating with their Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts to get updates on the investigation.

"We received info about it and alerted our forces.  Until now,  we have no confirmation if any entered our aor (area of respobsibility)," Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom),  said in a text message.

"We'll post update once we received attest info from our forces.  Naval forces and the Joint Task Force IndoMalPhi (Indonesia/Malaysia/Philippines) is currently on the look out and search in the border."

The abducted fishermen were identified as Samsul Sagunim, 40, and Usman Yunus, 35, said Sabah acting Semporna police chief Datuk Omar Mammah, as reported by The Star Online.

The  armed men, according to reports,  were said to have spoken in the Suluk dialect, a regional language spoken in Sulu Province in the eastern area of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, and in North Kalimantan, Indonesia by the Tausug people.

Based on Malaysia media reports the victims with 13 other crewmates had gone fishing near Pulau Gaya in the past three days.

The victims' fishing boat then headed to shore to deliver their catch when the abduction happened. Their crewmates managed to escape who reported the incident to the authorities.

Since the past two years, Sabah waters have been calm for the past two years by kidnapping of the Abu Sayyaf.

The Islamic State-linked terror group had seized mostly Indonesians, Malaysians, and other foreign nationals including Germans in a series of past kidnappings.

It has become known for its mutilation style of beheading Filipino and foreign captives if ransom was not paid.

The military said undetermined number of hostages including Indonesian, a Dutch,  and Filipino nationals remain captives by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu. Hader Glang

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