Pirates seized four Malaysian seamen off Sabah’s Semporna district and fled toward Tawi-Tawi province in the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, reports said Saturday 02 April 2016. At least eight gunmen on a speedboat intercepted the tugboat MasFive 6 near Ligitan Island late Friday and abducted Wong Hung Song, 44; Wong Teck Pang, 41; Wong Teck Chi, 39; and Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21 – all from Sarawak, in Sabah. Five other sailors – two Indonesians and three Burmese – were left behind in the boat and reported the attack on Malaysian authorities. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest abductions while Philippine authorities have not released any reports on this. The tugboat was heading to the coastal town of Tawau, in Sabah, after delivering timber in the Philippines when gunmen raided the vessel. Just recently, pirates also attacked another tugboat, Brahma 12, off Tawi-Tawi province while sailing back to Sabah and kidnapped 10 Indonesian sailors and demanded $1 million in exchange for their lives. The kidnappers, believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf under Alhabsi Misaya, were negotiating with the boat owner Patria Maritime Lines for the safe release of the victims, who are allegedly being held in Sulu province in southern Philippines. On Saturday, Sulu Gov. Totoh Tan, chairman of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, and Vice-Gov. Sakur Tan convened the special action committee and met with representatives of various law enforcement agencies, the police and military authorities and the town mayors of Jolo, Talipao, Indanan, Pata, Panamao and Kalinggalan Caluang to tackle the reported kidnappings and other security concerns.

Source: The Manila Times