MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is still verifying reports that 10 crew members of a Taiwanese tugboat were reportedly kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) while passing off Tawi-Tawi waters.
“The AFP through the WMC (Western Mindanao Command) has received initial information on the missing crewmen of a certain foreign owned vessel in the Zambasulta area. We could not yet confirm this information and at the moment, in the process of validating it,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
“We shall issue a statement once there is certainty that the said incident actually occurred. In the meantime, all our forces are on alert ready to assist if necessary and help ascertain the incident,” he added.
Reports claimed that the privately-owned tugboat had just come from Indonesia and headed for Manila when attacked by the bandits.
The tugboat was found moored at Languyan Island, Tawi-Tawi province on Sunday. PNA/northboundasia.com