FIVE Indonesian fishermen abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in Sabah, Malaysia on Thursday last week are most probably now in Sulu, a military commander said yesterday.
AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana made the statement a day after soldiers clashed with Abu Sayyaf members at around 6 a.m. in Sulare island in Parang town.
One of the Abu Sayyaf members was killed while a gray two-engine speed boat believed to have been used in the abduction of the Indonesians was hit and destroyed in the fighting, said Sobejana.
Earlier reports said eight Indonesians were seized by about six Abu Sayyaf men in Lahad Datu in Sabah on Thursday but three of the victims were later released. They later reported the incident to authorities.
Sobejana said Malaysian authorities coordinated with the Philippine military immediately after the abduction, prompting the Wesmincom to alert its forces on the possible landing of the kidnappers and their victims in Sulu.
“It (speed boat) was positively identified by the three (released) Indonesian fishermen to have been used in the abduction … They said there were six abductors aboard a gray, twin-engine speedboat which we destroyed yesterday,” he said.
“The likelihood they are in Sulare Island or Parang, Sulu is very high … The probability is high,” said Sobejana, adding the search and rescue operations are focused in the area.
Sobejana also reported the killing of four suspected Abu Sayyaf members in a clash with government troops in Lakit-lakit island, Sapa-Sapa town on Saturday night.
Citing initial information from the field, Sobejana said Marines were on a security operation in the area when they clashed with undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf men at around 6 p.m.
Sobejana said one of the soldiers was wounded but is “already out of danger.”