KOTA KINABALU: Police will only confirm claims that a key Abu Sayyaf leader was among three killed during a gunfight in Semporna waters once they receive official documentation from Philippine authorities.
“The claims were made by the (Philippine) military about their people. I cannot say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ until I have it in black and white from them,” said Sabah police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun.
Last night, an AFP report quoted Philippine regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan as confirming that Malaysian security forces killed Abraham Hamid in an armed confrontation that followed three attacks by a group of seven men in Lahad Datu and Semporna waters.
Abraham has been identified as having led several kidnappings over the past few years, including one in which two Western hostages were later beheaded.
While three suspected militants were killed in Thursday night’s shootout, police also arrested two others – Samsung Aljan and Awal Hajal, while two more went missing.
One of the kidnapped boat captains was rescued, while another is unaccounted for. Abdul Rashid said Samsung and Awal are still under police custody and will help shed light on the spate of kidnap-for-ransom cases this year.
On search operations for the three missing people, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said they have yet to locate anyone.
“The search, which is entering its third day, began at 6am and (is expected to) end at 6pm.
“Assets involved in the operation are from the Royal Malaysian Navy, the marine police and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency,” Abdul Bari added.