Five Malaysians kidnapped by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf

MANILA, July 19 (UPI) — Five Malaysians were kidnapped at sea by the Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf, the government of the Philippines said on Tuesday.

Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza said the five men were aboard a tugboat and barge traveling near Tawi-Tawi island, between Malaysia and the Philippines, when {link:their vessels were intercepted.

: “” target=”_blank”}
The boats were found, unmanned, by Malaysian authorities, he said.

Aby Sayyaf is a notoriously violent Islamist organization, aligned with the Islamic State and known for bombings, kidnappings and assassinations, as well as extortion and drug trafficking, in its effort to establish an Islamic caliphate. Another group with similar aims, the Moro National Liberation Front, worked with the Philippine government in the 1990s to establish an autonomous region in the southern part of country for limited self-rule in five predominantly Muslim provinces.

Nur Misuari, leader of the Moro group, is eager to work with the government to address Abu Sayyaf’s actions, Dureza said Tuesday.

“He said they [would] like to do coordination with our military forces on the ground, because they also want to help in addressing criminal activities of the Abu Sayyaf,” Dureza said, noting that government policy remains unchanged that any group committing crimes must be held accountable.

comments powered by Disqus