Jakarta. The Abu Sayyaf armed group kidnapped eight Indonesian fishermen in Malaysian territory on Thursday before releasing three of them and taking the other five hostage, the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday.
The fishermen were taken from a Malaysian fishing vessel sailing in the Tambisan Sea near Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia.
The three released fishermen sailed back from the Southern Philippines — where the Abu Sayyaf group is based — to Tambisan the following day, confirming news of the kidnappings.
"[They] confirmed there were five Indonesian fishermen who were kidnapped [by the Abu Sayyaf group]," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry did not disclose the names of the fishermen involved in the incident.
Philippine soldiers had rescued the last Indonesian hostage from an earlier kidnapping by another armed group with links to the Abu Sayyaf group on Wednesday, the day before the last kidnapping incident occured.
"The government of Indonesia strongly regrets this recurring incident of Indonesian fishermen being kidnapped in Malaysian territory," the ministry said.
Indonesia will work together with the Philippine authorities to rescue the five hostages.
"In the meantime, our fishermen should avoid sailing in oceans off Sabah since we can't guarantee their safety," the ministry said.