Ten Indonesian crew members onboard a Taiwanese-owned tugboat have been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines, Philippine military officials said late Monday. No Taiwanese nationals were on the ship, the officials told CNA on condition of anonymity.
The boat was hijacked Sunday near Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines on its way from Jakarta to Manila, the officials said.
The 10 Indonesian crew members were kidnapped and asked to call the boat owner in Taiwan to demand an undisclosed ransom amount, the officials said.
Philippine military spokesman Restituto Padilla said he was still trying to verify the information and would make a formal statement as soon as possible.
According to informed sources, the Philippine military has located the boat at Port Languyan, Tawi-Tawi, and it is believed that the crew members are being held captive on Basilan Island in the Sulu Archipelago where Abu Sayyaf militants are active.
In Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Armanatha Nasir confirmed Tuesday that the tugboat "Brahma 12," flying an Indonesian flag, had been recovered by the Philippine government, but the 10 Indonesian crew members were still being held captive.
Armanatha said his ministry did not know exactly where the crew members were and that the top priority at the moment was to ensure their safety.
The kidnappers have indeed demanded a ransom, he confirmed, citing information from the ship owner.