Abu Sayyaf linked with more seafarer hostages

Abu Sayyaf linked with more seafarer hostages

Philippine and Malaysian police have yet to confirm speculation running rife in Southeast Asia that another four Malaysian seafarers have been taken hostage by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf.

Various reports suggest four crew were abducted off the coast of Sabah this morning. Police forces in both countries have said they are looking into the matter and refuse to confirm the latest capture, the group having been especially active in recent months.

Just yesterday, four Malaysian seafarers revealed they had been freed in exchange for nearly $3m, a pittance compared to the $126m demanded for a Canadian hostage who was beheaded earlier this week.

A number of Malaysian seafarers have been taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf this year. New Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to make a harsh crackdown on the southern Philippine group, with 5,000 extra troops deployed to the region today.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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