Malaysia verifying report on abduction of four Malaysians off Sabah

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Police in the Malaysian capital and security forces in Sabah are verifying a Philippines media report of the possible kidnapping of another four Malaysians in Sulu waters on Thursday (June 16).

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Twitter that police have not received any report of such an incident.

“We are still waiting for confirmation from the Philippines,” he said.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Rashid Harun said he was also unaware of any recent abductions of Malaysians in the area. 

“I have not heard of it,” he said when asked about the report by Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN, which stated that the four victims had been brought to Sulu on Thursday morning.

ABS-CBN quoted Tawi-Tawi police director Joselito Salido as saying that a group of unidentified suspects allegedly brought the captives to the shores of Sitankai, Tawi-Tawi before transferring them to Sulu.

The radio station also reported that the Army's Western Mindanao Command was verifying the information.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chief Datuk Wan Abdul Beri Wan Abdul Khalid said they heard claims of another abduction but Esscom had not received any report of the incident.

Tawi Tawi police chief Sr Supt Elizalde Quiboyen said they had immediately carried out intelligence checks upon hearing claims of another abduction.

He said there had been no intelligence reports from the Sitangkai municipality close to Sabah borders of any “unusual” movement of abduction victims in the area.

“We would normally hear of these things because villagers would report them to their barangay captains,” he added.

Last April, the Abu Sayyaf abducted four Sarawakians from a ship off the east coast of Sabah. The four who were held by the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo were freed last week.