KOTA KINABALU: After successfully snatching three Indonesian fishermen in Sabah waters three weeks ago, rising Abu Sayyaf gunman Al Mujir Yadah is back on the prowl along the sea border of eastern Sabah.
Al Mujir, who is a member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group under sub-commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjan, is believed to be lurking in the Tawi Tawi chain of islands that straddles along Sabah’s east coast.
According to regional intelligence sources, Al Mujir and another Abu Sayyaf gunman, Salip Mura, were spotted on Dec 21 at Tawi Tawi’s Sibutu island, which is close to the sea border of Semporna and Lahad Datu.
According to the sources, the 18-member group, which comprises Abu Sayyaf and Tawi Tawi-based kidnap-for-ransom members, was heavily armed and moving about in two speedboats.
They are believed to be looking for kidnapping targets in Semporna or Sandakan waters.
Intelligence sources had earlier said that Al Mujir led a group that snatched six people, including three Sandakan-based fishermen and two Indonesians, in the Pegasus Reef area on Dec 5.
Al Mujir is believed to have been involved in local kidnappings in Jolo, but has shifted to carrying out cross-border kidnappings for the Abu Sayyaf.
The Eastern Sabah Security Command has remained on high alert since earlier this year and has stepped up patrols along the vast sea border.
Following the latest kidnapping incidents, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal ordered security forces to take a more offensive approach to deal with cross border kidnappers.