ZAMBOANGA CITY: About 10 Abu Sayyaf bandits hijacked a South Korean cargo ship and abducted its captain and a Filipino crew while sailing off Bongao town in Tawi-Tawi province.
Officials said Park Chul Hong, ship captain of MV Dong Bang Giant, and crew Glenn Alindajao were seized by gunmen late on Thursday evening.
“They were seized by 10 armed men suspected to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group under Jul Hassan and Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Idang Susukan based in Sulu province,” Army Major Filemon Tan, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said.
He added that anti-terror Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi has alerted all units and dispatched military forces to track down and rescue the hostages.
“As of press time, validation and intelligence monitoring are being conducted by the military in coordination with local chief executives and the locals to track down the perpetrators and safely rescue the victims,” Tan said.
He did not release details about the ship, where it was heading or the number of its sailors, and whether it is under the custody of the Philippine authorities while military operation continues in Tawi-Tawi near the Sabah border.
There was no immediate statement from the South Korean Embassy in Manila about the hijacking and abduction of its citizen.
The abduction occurred despite the military’s public pronouncement that thousands of troops had been deployed to fight the Abu Sayyaf whose group is allied with the Islamic State.
The group is still holding at least a dozen Indonesian and Malaysian sailors kidnapped off Sabah in Malaysia.