KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) view the recent kidnapping of five Indonesians within Sabah waters very seriously.
“The MAF views the incident, which occurred within Tambisan (Sabah) waters seriously. The five were believed to have been taken to southern Philippines by a group linked to Abu Sayyaf, ” it said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 23).
The MAF also said that trilateral patrols with Indonesia and the Philippines are always being conducted.
Among their initiatives include the Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) and Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP).
“We remain committed to ensure the joint patrols are being conducted to the fullest and with other Malaysian enforcement agencies to strengthen the level of maritime safety in the Sulu Sea and Sabah’s east coast, ” it said.
On Jan 16, five Indonesian fishermen were abducted from the eastern edge of Sabah waters off Lahad Datu by a kidnap-for-ransom group linked to the notorious Abu Sayyaf from southern Philippines.
Six gunmen dressed in black overalls took the five of eight fishermen from their Sabah registered trawler during the incident in waters between Tambisan and Kuala Meruap in Lahad Datu close to the Philippines sea border at 8pm.
On Jan 18, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said that they had communicated with their counterparts in southern Philippines and are carrying out follow-up operations in the area.