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Abu Sayyaf kidnapping threat remains a reality
Published on: Saturday, November 24, 2018
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Abu Sayyaf   kidnapping  threat remains  a reality
Kota Kinabalu: Despite Eastern Sabah Security Command's successful operations in thwarting at least 10 attempts by suspected Filipino kidnap groups trying to sneak into the State recently, the threat of the notorious Abu Sayyaf militant group (ASG) remains a reality.The threat even became more realistic following the confirmation by the Armed Forces of the Philippine's (AFP) that ASG sub-commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjan escaped unhurt in a deadly gunbattle with the Philippine troops which occurred in Patikul, Sulu Friday night.

According to Eastern Sabah Security Command Commander Datuk Hazani, the intruders in the recent 10 incidents were spotted by air patrols and fled when sea patrols moved closer to the border with the Philippines' Tawi-Tawi islands.

"We have good cooperation with our counterparts in southern Philippines, who provide us information about criminal movements on the border," he said, adding they believed most of the criminals have split up in recent weeks.

The escape of Hatib during an armed assault last week has raised more concern that militants are still targeting Sabah's east coast to execute kidnappings despite strict security enforcements from both the Philippines and Malaysian authorities.

Abu Sayyaf is a notorious militant network known for carrying out kidnap-for-ransom operations targeting locals and foreign victims.

The ASG earned millions of dollars from banditry and kidnappings-for-ransom and has beheaded hostages when ransom money was not paid.

Yet to be confirmed reports said that Hajan, together with another sub-commander, Indang Susukan, had sent out groups to prowl the Sulu sea between Tawi-Tawi and Sabah's east coast to kidnap high-value targets.

Meanwhile, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Besana was reported as saying that said Abu Sayyaf has been recruiting criminal elements from Tawi-Tawi since September to carry out fresh kidnappings. – Nikki Fabian

Photo Source: Wikipedia


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