Five sailors were abducted on July 18 off the coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island. (Source: businesstimes.com.sg)

Kuala Lumpur - (VNA) – Malaysia has informed that the five sailors missing since last week were kidnapped by the Philippine insurgent group Abu Sayyaf. 

Speaking with the press, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the five sailors were abducted on July 18 off the coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island, near the southern Philippines’ water.

In April and June, the militant group Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Canadian tourists after ransom demands were not met, and a Malaysian man was beheaded last year. 

Formed in the 1990s, the insurgent group has gathered 400 extreme Muslim separatists, operating mainly in the southern area of the Philippines. The group has conducted several abductions for ransom, bombings and beheadings, creating one of the most serious threats to the country’s security. 

In 2004, the group carried out a bomb attack, killing 100 people. It has announced it wishes to form an independent Islamic state which consists of a part of Mindanao island and Sulu island.-VNA