The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday, June 26, confirmed that the captors of seven Indonesian sailors were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Quoted on radio, AFP Western Mindanao Command said that armed men on a motorized boat stopped the tugboat carrying victims who planned to sail for Indonesia on the Sulu Sea at around 11:00 am on June 22.
Only seven of the 13 Indonesian sailors were abducted, the Wesmincom added. They were turned over by the armed men, identified as the Muktadil brothers, to Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Majal Adjas alias Apo Mike in Sulu.
Among those captured on the boat were the captain, who called his wife in Indonesia to inform her of their capture and the ASG’s ransom of over 20 million Malaysian ringgit (roughly P229.5 million).
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi was quoted as saying that two separate groups kidnapped the sailors, according to initial information.
Up to 17 Indonesians have been captured and released by the Abu Sayyaf in separate incidents in 2015. Most recently, they released Filipina hostage Marites Flor, who was among foreigners abducted on Samal Island in September 2015. (MC)