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Sabah resort kidnap: Hunt is on for Haji Gulam and men

Published on Apr 5, 2014 3:56 PM

SEMPORNA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian and Philippine security forces are scouring scores of islands in the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces for a former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) soldier known as "Haji Gulam" and his men.

Haji Gulam is said to have led the raid on Singamata Reef Resort where two foreign women - a Chinese tourist and a Filipina - were kidnapped.

Although little is known about Haji Gulam, whose real name is Murphy Ambang Ladjia, he is believed to be an Abu Sayyaf sub-commander and was also involved in a spectacular kidnapping of 21 people in Sipadan on Easter Sunday in 2000.

He is believed to have recently joined an Abu Sayyaf unit based in Simunul municipality on the Tawi Tawi islands, which straddle the sea border along Sabah's eastern tourist paradise of Semporna.

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