No ransom demand from kidnappers of 5 Indonesians, say cops

The five Indonesian workers were kidnapped in waters off Tambisan island in Sabah. (Bernama pic)

LAHAD DATU: The captors of the five Indonesian workers off Tambisan waters on Jan 15 have not made any ransom demand, said Sabah police commissioner Omar Mammah.

“Until today, we have not received any demand for ransom money from the kidnappers. We are investigating to find out who the masterminds are,” he said during a visit to the Lahad Datu police headquarters today.

On Jan 17, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) received a report that the Indonesians, working for a Sandakan-based fishing company, had been kidnapped.

They were identified as trawler skipper Arsyad Dahlan, 41, La Baa, 32, Riswanto Hayano, 27, Edi Lawalopo, 53, and Syarizal Kastamiran, 29.

Local fishermen had notified the marine police in Lahad Datu that they had seen fishing nets but no trawler or fishing boat near that area at about 1pm that day.

Security personnel searched and located the trawler heading towards Tambisan.

The authorities have linked the kidnappers to the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Meanwhile, Philippine Western Mindanao Command chief Cirilito Sobejana said a Malaysian terror group could be in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf.

“We are investigating with our Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts as signatories of a trilateral security agreement.

“You cannot go to an area if you do not have local contacts. We presume there are locals in Tambisan Island and parts of Sabah who are with the group behind this kidnapping.

“What we see here is the gap on the other side because they can get victims freely,” he was quoted as saying by Philippine media.

On Sunday, Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman confirmed the involvement of a local terror group assisting the kidnappers, citing information collected from the detained terrorists arrested in 2018.