SEMPORNA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A massive air and sea hunt for Filipino gunmen possibly still holding a Malaysian marine police constable is continuing as all escape routes off Semporna in the east coast of Sabah has been cut off.
According to police source, patrol boats from various security forces as well the navy's helicopter have been scouring the Semporna area for the gunmen who killed a 32-year-old marine police corporal in Mabul island.
Marine policeman Kpl Rajah Jamuan was killed while a constable identified as Zakiah Aleip, 26, remains missing after shootout with the gunmen during an ambush at the Mabul Water Bungalows Resort in the island at about 11pm on Saturday.
Initial indication was that the gunmen might have rowed into the area with their boat before climbing up the resorts jetty from the back of the building.
It is learnt that as soon as they entered, the gunmen started to shoot randomly towards the restaurant, reception office and jetty area before fleeing. Two other policemen managed to take cover during the shooting.
One of the policeman, Sgt Jeffridin who was on a boat nearby, heard the commotion and went to investigate. He found two of his colleagues had gone missing.
Rajah's body was later found under the jetty.
It is suspected that the shootout could be revenge attacks or for ransom demand.
There have been several attempts by Filipino gunmen to breach security around Mabul island - a favourite diving destination in the east coast of Sabah.
Last week, security was put on heightened alert following a kidnap attempt by seven gunmen at a fish farm off Kampung Bangau Bangau in Semporna.
Fish farm owners were ordered to move out of their farms and at least seven gunmen were reported to still be in the area.