Illustrative photo (Source:AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine military spokesman Brigade General Restituto Padilla on June 26 confirmed the kidnapping of seven Indonesian sailors occurring four days ago, adding that the victims are probably being held somewhere in Sulu province.

Speaking to the press, Restituto Padilla said the seven Indonesian sailors were kidnapped on the high seas of Indonesia at around 11 a.m on June 22.

He said the military in the Western Mindanao region is now assessing the situation and will plan for the best course of action to address the given situation.

However, he gave no other details of the fresh abductions that prompted Jakarta to ban its vessels to sail to the Philippines, including coal shipments.

Earlier on June 23, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters that the moratorium on coal exports to the Philippines will be extended until there is a guarantee for security from the Philippine government. Indonesia supplies 70 percent of the Philippines' coal import needs.

The Indonesia Government also called on the Philippine authorities to ensure security in the waters so that economic activities in the area are not affected.

The latest kidnapping, believed to be conducted by the Islam extremist group Abu Sayyaf, was the third abduction of Indonesians in the last few months.-VNA