KUALA LUMPUR: Gunmen have kidnapped four Malaysians from a ship off the east coast of Sabah state in waters where Abu Sayyaf militants are known to operate, local media reported on Saturday, reports AFP.
If the Philippine Islamist group is confirmed to be behind the kidnapping, it would be their second such hostage-taking in as many weeks and comes amid an uptick in such attacks. Philippine regional army spokesman Felimon Tan said the military was verifying the reported kidnapping after Malaysian authorities informed them of the incident on Friday.
“Whether or not they were seized by the Abu Sayyaf or brought to the Philippines, we have yet to confirm,” Tan told AFP. Sabah police commissioner Abdul Rashid Harun told Malaysia’s official news agency Bernama that authorities were still investigating if the kidnapping occurred in Malaysian or international waters.