Posted on October 31, 2018 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Philippine Coast Guard has issued warnings to vessels travelling in the Philippines, following reports indicating that the Abu Sayyaf militant pirate group (ASG) is planning to conduct kidnappings in the area.
Following a report by Marine Link, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) Commander, Datuk Hazani Ghazali confirmed that an estimated 10 Abu Sayyaf group members are planning to carry kidnappings in the ESSZone area.
“Esscom is on high alert and we are taking the necessary measures to enhance our readiness and patrol at Esszone waters. We need the cooperation from all local communities, especially those living in water villages and coastal areas, to provide information if they see or know of any suspicious people or activities,” he said in a statement released earlier today.
The report suggests that Abu Sayyaf will be targeting businessmen and foreign vessel crewmembers.
According to ReCAAP, Abu Sayyaf are using unmarked, blue and white motorized vessels of Malaysian design, known as a jungkong. The pirates are heavily armed, with pistols, rifles and grenade launchers.
Seafarers are urged to exercise extreme caution when sailing in Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas.
The ESSZone includes districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.