KOTA KINABALU: A Malaysian kidnap victim who was shot in a gunfight as he escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors is fighting for his life at a private hospital in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.
As Sandakan native Jari Abdullah, 34, who sustained gunshot wounds to his head, chest and groin, remains in a critical condition, the medical team has advised against flying him out to other hospitals for treatment.
It was learned that Wisma Putra, through the Philippine embassy, was taking steps to assist Jari, including giving the necessary guarantees for the private medical hospital to carry out life-saving procedures.
Malaysian officials are said to be looking at the possibility of flying Jari to a hospital in Kota Kinabalu if his condition stabilises, including requesting for a mercy flight from the Defence Ministry.
Jari, who has been held by Abu Sayyaf gunmen since Dec 5 last year, was injured during the firefight between his captors and Philippine security in Sulu on Thursday.
Philippine military identified him as Jari with the assistance of members of the Malaysian International Monitoring Team in Zamboanga City.
Philippine media quoted Western Mindanao Command spokesman Lt-Col Gerry Besana as saying that the victim was found by the Philippine Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 at around 4.25pm on Thursday following the shootout involving the marines.
"The kidnap victim tried to escape from his captors during the firefight but was shot by the Abu Sayyaf," Besana said.
They believed that the Abu Sayyaf militants were led by a certain Najir Arik during the 15-minute gun battle in Simusa Island, Sulu.
Philippine Huey helicopter airlifted Jari at 7pm on Thursday to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in the capital town of Jolo for medical treatment before flying him to Zamboanga City.
Last Dec 5, Jari and two Indonesian fishermen – Hari Ardiansya, 19, and Hariadin, 45 – working for a Sandakan-based fishing company were abducted by gunmen in the Pegasus Reef around Kinabatangan-Lahad Datu.
Their trawler was found empty and listing along the sea borders close to the southern Philippine Tawi-Tawi chain of islands. Jari's wife Nadin Junianti Najiri, 25, could not be contacted but it was learned that the authorities in Sandakan had updated her on her husband's condition.
Abu Sayyaf gunmen had called his wife at least twice in a bid to pressure the Malaysian authorities to talk to them.