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Esscom commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said they received a report yesterday that the fishermen's boat went missing and deployed air and sea assets to locate the victims. NSTP/HAZSYAH ABDUL RAHMAN

SANDAKAN: Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) confirmed five fishermen were kidnapped off Tambisan waters in Lahad Datu.

It is learned that the incident occurred on Wednesday but it was only reported yesterday.

Esscom commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said they received a report yesterday that the fishermen's boat went missing and deployed air and sea assets to locate the victims.

The five missing persons were believed to be taken to Southern Philippine waters by six armed men.

"Last night we found the ship with three crew, while the rest were kidnapped. All of them are Indonesians,” he said, adding the vessel which is registered in Sandakan was found off Tangusu Bay.

The incident occurred three months after three Indonesian fishermen were also kidnapped off Tambisan waters on Sept 23.

The trio, who are family members, are Muhamad Farhan 27, Maharudin Lunani, 48, dan sepupunya, Samiun Maneu, 27, were rescued by Philippine army from Barangay village, Bato-Bato, Indanan from Abu Sayyaf group in Dec 22.

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