KOTA KINABALU: A key member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group, killed in a shootout with security forces, was identified through scars from nine previous gunshot wounds and one explosion.
Police said Abu Paliyak or Kamaner Paliyak @ Yusof was shot dead by Malaysian security forces in waters off Pulau Kantong Kalungan near Lahad Datu at about 3am yesterday.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said Abu Paliyak is believed to have been involved in a number of maritime robberies and kidnappings in waters off Kunak and Lahad Datu since 2014.
He added that Abu Paliyak was also an informant for the Remy Group, which had carried out cross-border crimes on Sabah’s east coast.
“We believe he was at sea to observe the operations and movements of our security personnel and relay the information to kidnap-for-ransom groups,” Comm 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.
Shots were fired at them when they approached, forcing the officers to return fire, killing the man, Ramli said.
Upon checking the body, they made a positive identification of Abu Paliyak from his known injuries, including scars on his right thigh from when he was wounded in an explosion.
Ramli said security forces also recovered a modified pump gun and spent shell casings in the boat near his body.
Ramli said Abu Paliyak was one of the 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 would shuttle between there and Sabah’s east coast to evade security forces.
Ramli said increased security measures had deterred the kidnap-for-ransom groups as there have been no abductions so far this year.
“They are trying to monitor our movements so we have to be vigilant. We will track them down,” he added.