4 more Indonesian seamen abducted off Philippine coast

JAKARTA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Four Indonesian seamen were kidnapped by a militant group off the Philippine coast, while six others escaped the incident, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry said the Abu Sayyaf rebels hijacked an Indonesian tugboat TB Henry and a barge Cristi at around 6 p.m. local time on Friday (1000 GMT) in the bordering waters of Malaysia and the Philippines.

The vessels were on their way to Tarakan in North Kalimantan from Cebu, the Philippines, according to the ministry.

Six of the ten crew members aboard the boats managed to escape but one was injured by the gunmen. The Indonesian seamen were rescued by the Malaysian maritime police to the Lahat Datu port, said the ministry.

The wounded received medical treatments in Semporna, Malaysia, and was in a stable condition.

"The ministry has been coordinating with the company owning the boats, and also with the authorities in Malaysia and the Philippines," the ministry said.

The incident came after 10 Indonesian sailors were kidnapped last month by the Abu Sayyaf, which has connections with al-Qaida. The terrorist group demanded a ransom of 1 million U.S. dollars but was rejected by the Indonesian government.

Authorities from Indonesia and the Philippines have been attempting to rescue the Indonesian hostages.

Last Saturday, a gunfight erupted between Abu Sayyaf militants and the Philippine military, which left five rebels and 18 soldiers dead.

Indonesia is also calling on its neighboring countries to beef up security in the region.

"The Indonesian government will take measures to deal with the recent hijackings in the area," the ministry said.

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