SEMPORNA, Malaysia (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police have identified key suspects in the recent spate of kidnapping and murders in the state of Sabah.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman said brothers Nilson Muktadil and Badon Muktadil were part of the southern Philippines Tawi Tawi island-based kidnap-for-ransom group that made forays into east coast.
Nilson was believed to be involved in the April 2 kidnapping of Chinese tourist Gao Huayun and Filipino worker Marcy Darawan from the Singamata Reef Resort, Mr Jalaluddin said.
His elder brother Badon was responsible for other kidnappings, although the police did not specify.
"The brothers are believed to have been involved in four kidnapping incidents, with the last involving the shooting dead of a marine policeman and kidnapping of another policeman on July 12," he told reporters in Semporna on Saturday.
Authorities are trying to identify a third accomplice.
Mr Jalaluddin's disclosure comes three days after police launched a massive hunt for three intruders in Semporna waters after they evaded a police patrol.
He said since the hunt began, authorities have arrested 103 illegal immigrants from three islands.
"We believe the immigrants in the island settlements could have harboured the suspects," he said.