|Jolo Island is in the oval|
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday finally confirmed the Abu Sayyaf Group's (ASG) kidnapping of seven Indonesian sailors in the Sulu Sea, two days after Indonesian authorities announced the incident.Now, Indonesian hostages of Abu Sayyaf located:
The AFP's Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said that armed men on board two motorized boats intercepted the Indonesian's tugboat while en route to Indonesia in the Sulu Sea around 11 a.m. last June 22.
The WesMinCom's report said that only seven of the 13 crewmen on board the Indonesia tugboat were taken by the bandits.
It said that the seven Indonesians have been turned over by the armed men, later identified as the Muktadil brothers -- Nickson, Brown, Badung and Dadis -- to Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Majal Adja alias Apo Mike based in Sulu.
The WesMinCom said among those kidnapped was the boat's captain, who had called his wife in Indonesia to relay that their kidnappers were asking 20 million Malaysian ringgit.
Efforts to release seven Indonesian sailors recently abducted in waters off southern Philippines have progressed, with the defense ministries of the two countries on Monday locating the hostages.Of course Abu Sayyaf is now asserting it is affiliated with ISIS:
The government had been tight-lipped over its handling of the aftermath of the kidnapping of seven members of the crew of the tugboat Charles 001 on June 20 in waters near Philippines’ Jolo island, where the headquarters of terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is located.
Abu Sayyaf has for more than a decade been notorious for its profit-driven activities, such as extortion and kidnap-for-ransom, and has a number of sub-operations under its control.
Southeast Asian militants who claim to be fighting for Islamic State in the Middle East have said they have chosen one of the most wanted men in the Philippines to head a regional faction of the ultraradical group, security officials said on Thursday.Abu Sayyaf poses some threat to shipping transiting the Sulu and Celebes Seas, especially to tugs,dive boats and other small craft which can be boarded and from which hostages can be removed. They are not yet in the business of hijacking larger ships.
The claim was made in a video that was recently posted on social media, possibly last week, a military intelligence official in the Philippines told Reuters. The video is significant, experts say, because it shows that Islamic State supporters are now being asked to stay home and unify under one umbrella group to launch attacks in Southeast Asia, instead of being drawn to the fight in the Middle East.
Authorities in the region have been on heightened alert since Islamic State claimed an attack in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in January in which eight people were killed, including four of the attackers. In the 20-minute video seen by Reuters, young men and some children in military fatigues are shown carrying and training with weapons, and holding Islamic State flags.
In the video, a man authorities in Malaysia have identified as Mohd Rafi Udin, a Malaysian militant currently in Syria, says in Malay: "If you cannot go to (Syria), join up and go to the Philippines."
In the video, Udin also urges Muslims to unite under the leadership of Abu Abdullah, a Philippine militant leader who pledged allegiance to Islamic State in January. Abu Abdullah, also known as Isnilon Hapilon, is a leader of the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.