Gunmen Storm Tug in Malaysia

file photo: Malaysian Maritime Policy

By MarEx 2016-04-03 19:30:26

Four Malaysian crewmen have been kidnapped from a tug near Ligitan Island, Sabah, east of Borneo, Malaysia.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun told local media that around eight gunmen stormed the tug at 6.15pm on Saturday. "There were four Sarawakians, two Indonesians and three Myanmar citizens on board the vessel. However, the kidnappers only took the Malaysian crewmen and released the others,” he said.

Harun said on Sunday that authorities have not been contacted by the kidnappers. 

The Malaysian government is reportedly contemplating suspending trade between the east coast of Sabah and the southern Philippines.

According to the Philippines, over 18 foreign citizens are being held in the southern Philippines by kidnap-for-ransom groups pledging allegiance to Islamic State.

The men kidnapped on Saturday are Wong Teck Kang, 31, Wong Hung Sing, 34, Wong Teck Chii, 29, and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21. 

Islamic extremist group Abu Sayyaf is known to operate in the area, and if the group is confirmed to be behind the kidnapping, it will be the second in the last two weeks.On March 26, 10 Indonesian seafarers were kidnapped in southern Philippine waters. 

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying: “Malaysia strongly condemns the senseless and barbaric act.”

The island borders Malaysia and the Philippines, and it is unclear which territorial waters the incident occurred in.

The tug was en route from Manila to Tawau when the abduction took place.