PHL naval assets alerted vs gunmen in Sabah abduction PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 April 2014 11:21

The military’s Western Mindanao Command has placed all its naval assets on alert to preempt possible landing attempts by a criminal group who earlier attacked a resort in Semporna, Eastern Sabah and took hostage a Chinese tourist and a Filipino hotel staff.

Capt. Rowena Muyuela, the command’s spokesman, said that all naval units were placed on alert to prevent this from happening.

However, she said they still have no information on whether the suspects were Filipinos.

“We are still to receive official reports regarding that,” Muyuela stated.

She added that they are also coordinating with the local police to intensify their security arrangements.

Earlier, six unidentified gunmen attacked the resort and took at gunpoint the two and quickly fled aboard their speedboat.

The two abducted women were at the resort’s jetty on Wednesday night when armed men arrived by boat, Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper cited Eastern Sabah Security Command Director Mohammad Mentek as saying.

An employee at the Singamata Reef Resort, contacted by Reuters, confirmed an abduction had taken place, but declined to provide details. Malaysian police could not immediately be reached for comment.

The report comes at a time when Malaysia’s image has been tarnished in China by negative publicity over its handling of the March 8 disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people aboard, most of them Chinese nationals.

Sabah has become a popular tourist destination for Chinese in recent years, but has faced security problems due to its proximity to the restive southern Philippines.

Last February, more than 100 armed Filipinos landed by boat and launched attacks on Malaysian security forces, sparking a major security crisis in the area close to the Singamata resort.

In November, armed men landed on Pom-Pom island near Semporna, killed a tourist from Taiwan and abducted his wife. She was later rescued by Philippine security forces. — Reuters