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Philippines Based Terrorist Group Abu Sayyaf Kidnapped 5 Indonesian Crews and 11-Year-Old Boy in Sabah Waters, Malaysia

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official press release on Tuesday (1/21/2020) confirmed that 5 Indonesian citizens working on Malaysian fishing boat have been kidnapped by Philippines based terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf.

The kidnapping took place in Tambisan waters, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia on January 16, 2020 at 20:00 local time.

The press release obtained from the ministry website mentioned that the fishing boat with registration number SSK 00543/F was seen re-entering Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah from the Philippines on January 17, 2020 at 21:10 local time.

Illustration. Source: Pixabay.

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The boat initially carried 8 crews, all Indonesian citizens. There were 3 crews on board who were released by the kidnappers when the boat was found. Another 5 Indonesian citizens are taken as hostages by the kidnappers group.

To prevent another abduction, Indonesian Government through its representatives in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau, Malaysia, has appealed to the Indonesian crews to not sail in Sabah waters because the security situation still can not be guaranteed.

Indonesian Government also appealed to prospective Indonesian migrant workers to go abroad according to procedures and for now to avoid working as ship crew which operate in Sabah waters.


The press release also mentioned that Indonesian Government is currently in coordination with the Philippines Government in order to locate and to free the five Indonesian crews.

According to Kompas (1/19/2020), the name of the five missing crews are Arsyad bin Dahlan (42), Arizal Kastamiran (29), La Baa (32), Riswanto bin Hayono (27), and Edi bin Lawalopo (53). The three Indonesian citizens who were found on board are Abdul Latif (37), Daeng Akbal (20), and Pian bin Janiru (36).

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An 11-Year-Old Boy is Also Taken as Hostage


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs official press release on Teusday (1/21/2020) did not mention the boy. However, according to a report by Kompas on Sunday (1/19/2020), an 11-year-old Indonesian citizen, Mohamad Khairuddin, is also captured by Abu Sayyaf.

Khairuddin, who is from Wakatobi Regency, Southeast Sulawesi, is kidnapped along with his uncle Arsyad bin Dahlan, as well as four other Indonesian citizens.

"The family in Malaysia called, this child joined his uncle (Arsyad) who became the captain of the fishing boat. My sister called, that the child was taken by the Abu Sayyaf, "said the uncle of the hostage, La Sambo, when contacted by Kompas on Sunday (1/19/2020).

La Sambo stated that the information regarding the boy kidnapping is also corroborated by the statement of 3 Indonesian citizens who were freed by Abu Sayyaf. He also added that his family in Malaysia had reported the kidnapping to the Indonesian consulate in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.

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Recurrence of the abduction of Indonesian citizens by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group


Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mohammad Mahfud MD said the government is looking for a long-term solution to the recurrence of the abduction of Indonesian citizens by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

"We want to resolve not just the five Indonesian citizens, because it has happened many times. But we are actually thinking of long-term solutions, not just case by case basis," Mahfud said at his office on Tuesday as reported by Kompas (1/21/2020).

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official press release also stated that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia deeply regrets the recurrence of the abduction of Indonesian citizens on a Malaysian fishing boat in the Sabah area.

According to Liputan6 report on December 25, 2019, throughout 2000-2019, as many as 39 Indonesian citizens had been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group.


Just recently, an Indonesian citizen, Mohammad Farhan, was released from the Abu Sayyaf captive on Wednesday (1/15/2020) by Philippines army. Farhan is one of three Indonesians who were abducted in Tambisan waters, Lahad Datu, Malaysia, on September 23, 2019. Two other hostages, namely Maharudin and Samiun, were released on December 22, 2019.

In April 2016, the owner of the tugboat Brahma 12 agreed to pay the 50-million-peso ($1 million) ransom demanded by the  Abu Sayyaf for the release of 10 Indonesian crew members who have been held hostage since March 26, 2016.

Abu Sayyaf is a Philippines based terror group which pledged aligiance to ISIS and had participated in the Battle of Marawi in 2017. The group often kidnapped foreigners for ransom.

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