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5 fishermen abducted off Sulu province

SULU – Gunmen have seized 5 crewmen of a Filipino trawler in a daring attack off Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the restive Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The trawler was sailing near Pangutaran town late Saturday when armed men on board a speedboat intercepted the vessel and held its crew and eventually abducted them.

Police have identified the crew members as Cipriano Sardido, 53; Imo Fausto 63; Jonald Minalang, 24; at Joshua Ybañez, 23, – all from Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province; and Vergel Arquino, 25, from Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell heavily on the Abu Sayyaf group which is actively operating in Sulu and in nearby Tawi-Tawi province.

The Abu Sayyaf, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, is still holding nearly 2 dozen local and foreign hostages in Sulu and Basilan, also a part of the Muslim region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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