2 more Indonesian fishermen abducted off Malaysian state

Google map showing Malaysia's state of Sabah where the kidnapping happened.
Updated 20 November 2016
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2 more Indonesian fishermen abducted off Malaysian state

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysian authorities said Sunday that another two Indonesian fishermen have been abducted by armed men off eastern Sabah state on Borneo island, the second such case this month and the latest in a spate of sea attacks.
Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, who heads Sabah’s security center, said five masked men armed with long rifles raided a fishing trawler late Saturday. He told local media Sunday that the men destroyed the boat’s communications system and stole hand phones and money before kidnapping the skipper and his assistant.
He said the attackers then fled in a speed boat heading toward international waters. Another 11 crew members were rescued by passing boats, he added without giving further details. Wan Abdul Bari and Sabah police couldn’t be immediately reached for comments.
Earlier this month, two Indonesian boat skippers were also abducted off Sabah.
Despite efforts by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to jointly shore up security along their busy sea border, Indonesians and Malaysians have been kidnapped from tugboats and fishing boats in recent months
Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines, which is near Sabah, and its allied gunmen are responsible for many attacks at sea. The Abu Sayyaf group, which is blacklisted in the US and the Philippines as a terrorist organization, holds more than a dozen foreign and local hostages.
The kidnappings have continued despite one of the largest military offensives against Abu Sayyaf, mainly in Sulu and the nearby island province of Basilan, involving more than 6,000 troops, navy gunboats and rocket-firing air force aircraft.
Without a known foreign source of funds, Abu Sayyaf has survived mostly on ransom kidnappings, extortion and other acts of banditry.
A confidential Philippine government threat assessment report seen by The Associated Press said the militants pocketed at least 353 million pesos ($7.3 million) from ransom kidnappings in the first six months of the year and have turned to abductions of foreign tugboat crewmen as military offensives restricted their mobility.


Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

Updated 36 min 17 sec ago
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Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

  • Nawaz Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose his source of income to acquire Al-Azizia Steel Mills

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.
Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia. He has appealed.
The case was heard by a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The three-time former premier has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail appeal was rejected last month.
The Supreme Court removed Sharif from office in July 2017 for not disclosing part of a salary drawn from his son’s company and he was later convicted in two separate cases of failing to disclose sources of income.
In one of those cases, over the ownership of upmarket properties in London, the high court granted him bail last September, suspending a 10-year sentence until a final decision on his appeal against the conviction.
The appeal process in both cases is continuing.
Sharif has termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.