KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian security forces have killed a key member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group involved in kidnap for ransom incidents and cross border crimes in the state’s east coast.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said the man known as Abu Paliyak or Kamaner Paliyak @ Yusof was killed in a shootout with security forces in waters off Pulau Kantong Kalungan near Lahad Datu at about 3am on Monday.
He said Abu Paliyak was involved in a number of sea robberies and kidnappings in waters off Kunak and Lahad Datu since 2014.
He said Abu Paliyak had been an informant for the Remy group that was active in carrying out cross border crimes in Sabah's east coast.
“We believe he was out at sea to observe the operations and movements of our security personnel and relay the information to kidnap for ransom groups,” Ramli told the media in Lahad Datu.
He said a special Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) team and marine police on patrol at high risk areas spotted a boat with a man on board.
When the security forces began approaching it, shots were fired from the boat, forcing security forces to shoot back.
Upon checking, security forces identified the body as that of Abu Paliyak with scars from at least nine previous gunshot wounds and a healed wound from an explosion on his right thigh.
Ramli said security forces also recovered an 82cm modified pump gun and spent shells near Abu Paliyak’s body in the boat.
He said Abu Paliyak was last two affiliates of the 11-member Remy group most of whom have been killed or captured in southern Philippines.
“We believe the sole surviving member is in southern Philippines as well,” he said, adding that Abu Paliyak had been shuttling between southern Philippines and Sabah’s east coast to evade security forces here.
Ramli said the stepped security measures had curbed the kidnap for ransom groups as there had been no abductions so far this year.
“They are trying to monitor our movements, and so we have to be vigilant and we will track them down,” he added.