ZAMBOANGA CITY --- Malaysian authorities alerted its military counterpart in the southern part of the Philippines about the latest kidnapping of two sailors seized Friday off Semporna, Sabah.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said they received information from Malaysian authorities late Friday night about the abduction about 7:30 p.m. at the vicinity of Merabong Waters near Kunak district.
Tan said five heavily armed gunmen aboard a speed boat intercepted a Malaysian-registry fishing trawler and seized its skipper identified as Saparuddin Kone and his crew Sawal Maryam.
The victims are Indonesian nationals, according to Tan.
The suspects, all wearing masks, dragged their captives into the speedboat and towards the high seas.
Tan said they have already forwarded information and alerted its unit the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi (JTFT). A counter action was conducted on the possibility that the suspects might bring their captives in Sulu via the Tawi-Tawi area.
Sulu also continued to be on alert to monitor the possible presence of the kidnap victims.
Tan said that, currently, the Abu Sayyaf has been holding captive five Malaysian nationals along with 17 other captives, including a Dutch, a German, two Indonesians, six Vietnamese and six locals.
He said they were also verifying if another two Indonesian captives were also seized off Malaysian waters three weeks ago.