Published on: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Lahad Datu: An attempt by a group of kidnappers from southern Philippines to enter the country through Semporna waters last week failed due to tight security measures being deployed in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).
Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek said security peronnel in ESSZone, involving 10 districts from Kudat to Tawau had been directed to be vigilant to prevent the recurrence of kidnappings.
"We are serious about this intrusion attempt and we cannot afford to have another incident after the still unresolved kidnapping case at Singamata resort last April 2 occurring," he said Monday.
However, he said ESSCom could not confirm or deny if the group was the same militant armed kidnapping group of Abu Sayyaf and was still collecting leads on it.
He said ESSCom would do its level best with its existing strength and assets to prevent any attempt of intrusion.
Mohammad said the Philippines authority was closely monitoring the situation and location of the two kidnapped victims, a Chinese tourist and the resort's Filipina receptionist, who were now being held by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu.
The Muslim militants have brought the victims to their jungle stronghold in the southern Philippines after kidnapping the women from the dive resort.
Mohammad said based on intelligence reports the 28-year-old Shanghai tourist had been in regular communication with her family over ransom deal.
The group was reported to have demanded a RM36.4 million in ransom for the release of the Chinese woman.
"We have sent our officers to Jolo Island and working closely with the Philippines intelligence for the safe release of the victim," he said.