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5 Indonesian sailors abducted by Philippine militants

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Five Indonesian nationals working on a Malaysian fishing boat have been abducted by suspected members of the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf militant group, the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta said on Tuesday.

Eight Indonesian crew members of the boat were snatched while sailing in Tambisan waters off the coast of Malaysia’s Sabah state on Thursday, but three of them were later released, the ministry said.

“The Indonesian government deplores another case of abductions of Indonesian citizens in Sabah waters,” it said in a statement.

“The government is working together with the Philippine government to look for and free the five Indonesians.”

The ministry urged Indonesians to avoid sailing in Sabah waters, saying that their security was not guaranteed.

Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group based in Jolo in southern Philippines, has been blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreigners in recent years, with victims including Indonesians and Malaysians.

The group had in the past demanded ransom for the release of their hostages.

Three Indonesian fishermen were abducted from their boat off Sabah in September. They were later rescued by Philippine authorities.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Maureen Atuonwu

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