Posted on June 19, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
Ten gunmen, belonging to the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, kidnapped 10 fishermen during the early morning hours of June the 18th off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia.
At approximately 02:00 am on Tuesday morning, two speedboats carrying the group of gunmen approached two separate fishing vessels off the coast of Lahad Datu, Sabah.
Having boarded the vessels, the terrorists proceeded to confiscate documents that would verify the nationality of the seafarers before taking 10 of them hostage.
According to initial reports, the attackers took four men from the first vessel, and six men from the second vessel, while leaving two and four crew members behind, respectively.
They proceeded to flee towards Sitangkai Island in the Philippines.
According to Sabah Police Commissioner, Datuk Omar Mammah, the attacks were most likely the kidnap-for-ransom variety, despite the fact that authorities ‘ve yet to hear from the gunmen.
This kidnapping occurs after a 6-month lull in the terrorist group’s activities. Last December, Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnapped a Malaysian and two Indonesian fishermen off the coast of Sabah.
Just this April, the U.S. State Department issued a warning as to the increased threat of kidnappings-for-ransom from terrorist and criminal groups operating in the eastern Sabah region.
The identities and nationalities of the victims is not yet known at this time.
The remaining fishermen were successfully rescued by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).