MANILA (UPDATED) - Authorities are verifying reports that four Malaysian nationals were abducted off the coast of Malaysia and allegedly brought to Sulu Thursday morning.
Police Senior Superintendent Elizalde Quiboyen, OIC-provincial director of Tawi-Tawi, said the unidentified suspects allegedly brought the captives to the shores of Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi before transferring them to Sulu by midnight.
The said group of abductors with their captives were allegedly on a speedboat, and had planned to dock along the coastal area of Parang, Sulu.
The Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command is still verifying the information.
Another source from the Philippine National Police said that after validation, the said information proved to be false. Meanwhile, WesMinCom spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said they were still validating the report.
The coast of Malaysia and surrounding Philippine water are known haunts of Abu Sayyaf militants who are notorious for kidnapping foreigners in exchange for millions of pesos.
Last April, the al-Qaeda linked group abducted four Malaysians from a ship off the east coast of Sabah state. The victims were freed in the province of Sulu on April 8, but authorities did not confirm if ransom was paid in exchange for their safe release.
Just recently, Abu Sayyaf beheaded its Canadian captive, Robert Hall, after the Philippine and Canadian governments both maintained a "no ransom" policy.
Hall's execution comes two months after his compatriot and fellow hostage, John Ridsdel was executed. The two Canadians were seized from a marina off Samal island in September last year, alongside Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipina.
READ: Family of slain hostage back Canada ransom policy
Authorities have intensified military operations against Abu Sayyaf. - with report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News
READ: Aquino apologizes to Canada's Trudeau over beheadings