Incident Summary:

01/16/2020: Assailants abducted eight Indonesian fishermen from a trawler in the waters between Tambisan Island and Kuala Meruap in Kilang Balak Nam Sang, Sabah, Malaysia. As of March 21, 2020, one hostage was killed and the other seven hostages were either released by the assailants or rescued by security forces. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources attributed the attack to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).




Southeast Asia

region/u.s. state:


Near Kilang Balak Nam Sang

Location Details:
The incident occurred near Tambisan Island.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Unknown
Specific Description Fishermen
Nationality of Target Indonesia
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 8
US Hostages 0
Days of Kidnapping 430
Outcome Combination
Ransom Yes
Total Ransom Amount Demanded 624217.50
Ransom Amount Demanded from US Sources 0.00
Total Ransom Amount Paid 0.00
Total Ransom Amount Paid by US Sources 0.00
Ransom Notes Unknown
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Weapon Details
M16 assault rifles were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The victims included Abdul Latif, Daeng Akbal, Pian bin Janiru, Arsyad bin Dahlan, Arizal Kastamiran, La Baa, Riswanto bin Hayono, and Edi bin Lawalopo. Three hostages were released shortly after the abduction. Another hostage escaped on June 21, 2020 and was then recaptured on or before June 24, 2020. One hostage was killed on or before September 28, 2020. Finally, three hostages were rescued on March 18, 2021, and the final hostage was rescued on March 21, 2021.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"ASG’s Indonesian captive found dead in Sulu," Manila Bulletin, October 1, 2020.
"Abu Sayyaf asks P5M for Jolo doctor’s release," Manila Times, March 9, 2020.
"Abu Sayyaf kidnaps 5 Indonesians off Sabah," CNN Philippines, January 19, 2020.