Indonesia's foreign ministry says ten Indonesian nationals are being held hostage in the southern Philippines after their ship was hijacked by Islamic militants.
The ten were crew members on a tug boat that was pulling a coal barge from Borneo island to Batangas in the southern Philippines last week when it was seized.
The ministry says the owner of the vessels has received a ransom demand Saturday from someone claiming to be a member of Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group notorious for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings for nearly two decades.
The tug boat has since been recovered and is in the custody of Philippine authorities. The coal barge is believed to still be with the kidnappers.
Abu Sayyaf started out as an insurgent group calling for a separate Muslim state and in the 1990’s it received seed money from al-Qaida. The group resorted to kidnapping foreign tourists and holding them for ransom as authorities intensified operations against terror groups following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.