Three suspected kidnappers from southern Philippines were shot dead by Malaysian security forces in Merabung waters off Lahad Datu last night. The shooting happened when the kidnappers were attempting to abduct a man. Three others were also captured in a 20-minute brawl between the police’s Tiger Platoon and eight Filipino gunmen in the waters off Pulau Bodgaya in Semporna at around 9.30pm. The whereabouts of two other suspects are still uncertain as the police continue their search.
The group involved in this cross-border kidnapping was said to be heavily armed gunmen strapped with bullets. They were spotted in a speedboat heading towards the fishing trawler Yakin 2. The Tiger Platoon immediately started chasing the suspects as they attempted to get onto the trawler and a gunfight broke out when it was pitch dark. They only discovered the three bodies of the suspects after the violence stopped.
Image: The Star
The security personnel arrested the other suspects after they surrendered. A kidnap victim, believed to be a fisherman, was rescued by the platoon. During the event, it was learnt that a policeman got injured and was airlifted back to Semporna hospital.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said a press conference will be held at Semporna police headquarters today and more details will be released.
This year, it is believed that cross-border kidnappers have been the suspects behind at least six out of nine robberies and kidnappings that had occurred in the East Coast. These groups are believed to be based in the Tawi Tawi islands close to Sabah waters.