KOTA KINABALU: Two of the six men believed to have kidnapped five Indonesian fishermen in Malaysian waters earlier this month have been shot dead after a shootout with Philippine security forces.
“The suspects were shot dead two days ago by our Philippine counterparts,” said Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Hazani Ghazali, who confirmed the incident.
On Jan 15, five Indonesians – Arsyad Dahlan, 41, La Baa, 32, Riswanto Hayano, 27, Edi Lawalopo, 53, and Syarizal Kastamiran, 29 – were abducted by armed gunmen in Tambisan waters off Sabah’s east coast Lahad Datu district.
It was reported that eight men had boarded the Sandakan-registered fishing vessel and overpowered the five fishermen.
Esscom had received information on the abduction the following day from three other fishermen who jumped into the sea and escaped.
Authorities have linked the kidnappers to the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Meanwhile, it was learned the two suspects were killed after trading shots with Philippine forces in waters off Jolo Island, in the southern Philippines.
According to a source, the suspects had just dropped off the five abductees at an unspecified island in the southern Philippines and were heading to another island when they ran into the authorities.