MANILA, Philippines — Authorities believe the Abu Sayyaf was responsible for attacking a roll-on, roll-off vessel and abducting two crewmen of the tugboat towing the ship off Basilan Thursday afternoon.
Lieutenant Commander Alvin Dagalea, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard station in Zamboanga told defense reporters by phone patch on Friday that the MV Super Shuttle Ro-Ro 9 was attacked around 12:15 p.m. the day before some 19 nautical miles off Sibago town.
He said the attackers seized sailors Aurelio Agacac and Laurencio Tiro, two of the 11 crew members of the unnamed tugboat.
None of the Super Shuttle’s 22 crew members was seized.
Dagalea said initial information indicated that the Ro-Ro vessel was being towed to General Santos City from Cebu.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla recently said the Abu Sayyaf is holding at least 25 hostages, mostly foreigners.
And early this month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the number of hostages held by the extremists had doubled since the start of the Duterte administration, a development he acknowledged as a major embarrassment.