KOTA KINABALU: Police have confirmed that the notorious kidnap leader shot dead in a gunfight in Semporna was Abraham @ Ibrahim, who was linked to several kidnappings in Sabah's east coast.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said police had rechecked the identity of the dead suspect and are now looking deeper into his possible links with the Abu Sayyaf group based in the southern Philippines island of Jolo.
"We believe that Abraham was involved in several kidnap for ransom cases. We are investigating further into this," he told reporters when visiting the Kota Kinabalu district police headquarters in Karamunsing here Thursday.
The Star, quoting intelligence sources, had reported earlier this month that Abraham, a fisherman based in the Tawi Tawi island chain, had resorted to kidnappings after his fishing nets were allegedly destroyed by encroaching Sabah fishing boats.
The sources had claimed that Abraham had borrowed a boat belonging to a prominent Tawi Tawi politician to carry out kidnappings earlier this year to pay off a loan taken from the politician.
On Dec 8, police shot dead three kidnappers, including Abraham, and arrested two others during a gunfight off Pulau Gaya in Semporna.
They also rescued a kidnap victim, but two other kidnappers and a second kidnap victim are still missing at sea.
Rashid said police are prepared for any retaliation by the kidnapping or Abu Sayyaf groups following the shootout.
"We are aware that there is possibility they might be planning revenge," he said adding that all agencies under the Eastern Sabah Security Command are trained to face any threats.