The Malaysian police. (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A leader of the Philippine Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf - Abraham Hamid - was killed by Malaysian security forces during a gun fight offshore Sabah state, Borneo island of Malaysia, on December 10.

Regional spokesman of the Philippine military, Major Filemon Tan said the death of Hamid is a strong blow to Abu Sayyaf.

Abraham Hamid was responsible for the kidnapping of foreigners at a resort in southern Philippines in 2015. Two of the victims were executed.

Major Filemon Tan said that the criminal also participated in the abduction of four Indonesian sailors in April.

He added that the police also killed two gunmen and arrested two other suspects in another fire exchange in LahadDatu, east of Sabah state.

The Muslim Abu Sayyaf group was established in the1990s, with about 400 gunmen active in the south region of the Philippines. The group is infamous for abduction for ransom, bombings and hostage executions. The group is holding 22 captives at the moment, mainly foreigners.

Abu Sayyaf has become a major concern of the Philippines’ neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia, as the group’s hostage list includes sailors of those countries.

Although Abu Sayyaf’s leaders pledged loyalty to the self-claimed Islamic State in recent years, experts said that the group only focuses on kidnapping for money.-VNA