KOTA KINABALU: Abu Sayyaf gunmen who are holding a Malaysian and two Indonesian fishermen in their southern Philippines Jolo island, have yet to make fresh contact with their families or the authorities.
Apart from a call to a family member hours after they were snatched from their fishing boat, there is no further contact from the victims or the kidnappers.
The incident happened in Pegasus Reef waters in Sabah’s Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu area on Dec 6.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said yesterday the last call was made to one of the victim’s wife on Dec 6 after they were kidnapped.
“We are still waiting for fresh development,” he told reporters after attending the 2018 Police Family Day celebrations function that was held in the city.
The three - Hariadin Rere, 45, Heri Ardiansyah, 19 and Jari Abdullah, 34, – were believed to have been grabbed from their fishing boat in the Pegasus reef area after the same group failed to kidnap sailors from a tugboat.
In their earlier attempt, the tugboat skipper, who used a flare gun to ward off the attackers, was shot on his thigh by the gunmen in the Pegasus Reef waters on the Lahad Datu side.
However, police are still trying to establish if it was the same group involved in the two incidents.
Comm Omar said they were still investigating both incidents that occurred close to the Philippines’ island chain of Tawi Tawi that straddles along the eastern Sabah sea border.
Regional intelligence sources believed the three hostages were taken to Panamao village in Jolo and were being kept together with another Indonesian hostage kidnapped from Semporna’s Pulau Gaya on Sept 5.
The sources had earlier indicated that the gunmen were led by Al Mujir Yadah, who is a member of a notorious Abu Sayyaf group led by sub-commander, Hatib Hajan Sawadjan.
Hatib Hajan has teamed up with another sub-commander, Indang Susukan, to search for value targets to kidnap in Sabah waters.
Al Mujir, who was joined by at least 18 armed men, is believed to be lurking in the Tawi Tawi islands since Dec 21 in an effort to kidnap new victims along the sea border.
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