The Jakarta Post
Two Indonesian-flagged ships have been hijacked in waters between the Philippines and Malaysia; four sailors are being held hostage, the Foreign Ministry says.
"The ships were on their way home from Cebu in the Philippines to Tarakan [in North Kalimantan],” the Foreign Ministry’s Indonesian citizen protection director, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said in a press statement on Saturday.
The incident comes on the heels of the March 26 hijacking of two Indonesian-flagged vessels, the Brahma 12 tugboat and the Anand 12 barge, and the kidnapping of their crews, numbering 10 men in total. The hostages are being held by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern Philippines, pending payment of a ransom of 50 million pesos (US$1.07 million).
According to Iqbal, two Indonesian ships -- the TB Henry and the Cristi -- were hijacked on Friday at 6:30 p.m. local time.
During the incident, one sailor was shot, five escaped and four were kidnapped. The injured sailor was rescued by Malaysia's Maritime Police and is currently being treated in Malaysia; he is understood to be in a stable condition.
The five crew members who evaded capture have been taken to Lahat Datu port, also in Malaysia.
The Foreign Ministry is currently communicating with the owners of the ships and the Philippine and Malaysian governments, Iqbal said, adding that the Indonesian consulate in Tawau, a town in Malaysia's Sabah state, was in contact with local authorities there.
“The government is determined to take measures against the frequent hijackings in the area. Indonesia will ask neighboring countries to strengthen security,” Iqbal added. (bbn)
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