Asia

4 Filipino fishermen feared kidnapped by southern militants

The Philippine military says Abu Sayyaf militants are suspected of kidnapping four Filipino fishermen in the latest such attack by the ransom-seeking gunmen despite increased security in the south.

Regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan says the skipper, mechanic and two crewmen of the F/B Ramona 2 were missing and the boat's radio and GPS equipment were missing when fellow fishermen found the vessel Tuesday in the Celebes Sea off Sulu province.

Tan says troops have been alerted to look for the missing fishermen who may have been taken to Sulu, where the militants are holding other hostages in jungle encampments.

Kidnappings of boat and cargo crewmen by the Abu Sayyaf and allied gunmen have continued despite efforts from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to bolster sea security.