Filipino authorities have confirmed that the five crew members who were reported missing from the Malaysian tug boat Serudong 3 off Tambisan, Malaysia, on July 18, have been abducted by members of the Filipino Muslim militants, Abu Sayyaf.
Filipino Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Jesus Dureza, said the militant group is behind the incident.
Dureza revealed no further details on the incident, but said military action is not the sole solution to stopping the culture of kidnapping in the region.
The UK-based security broker agency Asket has cited Filipino and Malaysian sources as saying that the Captain of the tug contacted his wife to relay that the militant group is asking for about USD5million for the release of the five Malaysian nationals.
The tug was towing a barge, Serudong 4, travelling from Sempona to Sandakan, and was expected to reach Sandakan at around 5pm local time, July 18.
However, the vessel was found abandoned with the engine still running at around 2pm off Dent Haven by the crew of another tug.
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