Four Indonesian sailors have been kidnapped by a group of armed men when their vessels was hijacked between the Malaysian and Philippine waterways on Friday evening (Apr 15).
According to a statement from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry four of the 10 crew members who were Indonesian nationals were reported to have been abducted by the armed group who were believed to have overtaken the tugboat.
Shortly after the incident that occurred in international waters, six of the crew members who escaped were believed to have entered Malaysian waters before being rescued by Malaysian security forces.
The statement said a fifth sailor was shot during the hijacking incident, and Malaysian maritime police managed to rescue the sailor who is now in a stable condition.
The rescued crewmen were brought to the port in Lahad Datu in Malaysia.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said at the moment, one of the ship's crew who was undergoing treatment for an injury at the Semporna Hospital would be transferred to the Tawau Hospital for further treatment.
The incident comes after the kidnapping in March of the 10-member crew of an Indonesian tugboat and barge in the often insecure border region between the southern Philippines and Indonesia.
In that case, the owner of the tug boat received telephone calls, purportedly from the militant group Abu Sayyaf
, which has connections with al-Qaida, demanding a ransom.
The Philippine militant group also took the MV Massive 6 tugboat and its crew of nine hostage on April 1 while it was en route from Tawau in Sabah, Malaysia, to Samarinda in East Kalimantan
Authorities from Indonesia and the Philippines have been attempting to rescue the Indonesian hostages.