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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

10 fishermen kidnapped off Lahad Datu not Malaysians

SHAH ALAM - Ten fishermen believed to have been kidnapped in Sabah waters off Lahad Datu early this morning are not Malaysians.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor said preliminary investigations showed that the victims were nationals of neighbouring countries.

“No Malaysians were involved because they do not have valid travel documents.

“We believe they are foreigners, maybe from the Philippines or Indonesia. We are still investigating,” Mazlan said at the Selangor police contingent headquarters today.

He said the incident had occurred at 2.45am when the 6pm to 6am curfew in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone was enforced.

He said 16 individuals onboard two boats, about 13.2 nautical miles from the shore, were believed to have been fishing at the time.

“They were approached by their captors on two boats and 10 of them were kidnapped. One of them has a pass issued by the Sabah Immigration Department.

He said they were in the process of identifying the boat owner and determining whether the Abu Sayyaf group was involved.

“We do not know at this point. There have not been any calls from the captors so far,” said Mazlan.

In KOTA KINABALU, state police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said an investigation paper had been opened on the kidnapping incident.

“We will wait. The police marine and General Operation Force personnel have started with operations (related to the incidence).

“As for those who were rescued, police will take a statement from them and get photofits (of those gunmen),” he said.

Omar said the victims were sea gypsies, or stateless people, aged between 17 and 60.

Earlier, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was reported as saying that the state wanted security infrastructure and assets to be placed in areas prone to cross-border crime, particularly kidnapping.

He also took note of concerns raised over plans to restructure the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and the effect it could have on security in terms of cost-cutting, stressing that it was crucial to have the right security equipment in Sabah.

On the internal threat from Abu Sayyaf members in the state and water villages Shafie said the people must get involved by providing information to the authorities.

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