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Abu Sayaaf seeking to kidnap seafarers and businessmen off Sabah - ReCAAP

A warning has been issued by the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) that a group of Abu Sayaaf terrorists are looking to kidnap seafarers and businessmen off Sabah, East Malaysia.

In its second specific warning this year ReCAAP said that it had been advised by the Philippines Coast Guard that “a group of approximately 10 ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) members armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launcher is planning to conduct kidnapping activities at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah primarily targeting businessmen or ship's crew of foreign vessels passing through the area.”

It said, “They are using unmarked coloured blue and white motorbanca locally known as jungkong.”

In a warning to shipping in the region ReCAAP said: “Ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas.”

In May this year that members of Abu Sayaaf planned to abduct crew members for merchant vessels off Sabah in East Malaysia, marking a return of the separatist in attacking commercial shipping to kidnap for ransom.

ReCAAP in specific warning of Abu Sayaaf plans to kidnap seafarers off East Malaysia

In its third quarter report ReCAAP said that in first nine months 2018 there had been two incidents of kidnap for ransom Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, comprising one actual incident, and one attempted kidnapping. The centre warned threat of abduction of crew in the area remained “imminent”.

Between March 2016 and April 2017 attacks on merchant ships to abduct crew for ransom in the southern Philippines, claimed largely by Abu Sayaaf, saw 59 seafarers kidnapped from 13 vessels in the region.

Read more: 'Very serious concern' over kidnapping of seafarers in Southern Philippines: ReCAAP