Four Indonesians held hostage after ships hijacked near Malaysia

Four Indonesian nationals are being held hostage after their ships were hijacked in the maritime borders of Malaysia and the Philippines, an official said Saturday. 

They were among 10 crew on board the tugboat Cristi returning to Tarakan in North Kalimantan province from Cebu in the Philippines with a barge. Both Indonesian-flagged vessels were boarded on Friday at 6.31 pm (1031 GMT), Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.

Five crew escaped, including one who was shot and wounded but taken to hospital by police in Malaysia, and reportedly in good condition.

Jakarta was in close coordination with the ship operator, and auhorities in Malaysia and the Philippines, Nasir said.

He said Indonesia calls on neighbouring countries to beef up security in the region in light of an increase in pirate activities.

Last month 10 Indonesians were seized in the same waters when their tugboat was boarded. The ship's owner received a call claiming to be from Philippine-based militant group Abu Sayyaf who demanded a ransom for the crew. 

Last update: Sat, 16/04/2016 - 11:01

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