A gunman suspected of being from Abu Sayyaf is watching vessels (Source: VNA)
 
Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Security at Malaysia’s Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone) has been intensified following information on possible kidnapping plans by terror group Abu Sayyaf.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Commander Hazani Ghazali said that Esscom has mobilised all assets to the field and guard posts to prevent the cross-border crime. He also asked residents in the Esszone to inform the Command if they notice any suspicious activities or movement at sea.

On October 30, Malaysia’s Marine Link portal released a statement by the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG) reporting that a group of ten Abu Sayyaf members armed with pistols, rifles, and grenade launchers were looking to carry out kidnappings at several locations in Sabah. They seemed to be targeting businessmen and foreign vessel crew passing these areas.

The group was using unmarked blue-and-white speedboats for this purpose, the statement said.

The statement also urged vessel crew members and owners to take extra precaution when transiting the waters of the eastern Sabah and Philippines Sulu Sea.

Abu Sayyaf is a small, violent group that operates in the western fringes of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao and on the Sulu islands extending from Mindanao.

The group has pledged allegiance to the self-claimed Islamic State and has carried out kidnappings for ransom of both foreigners and Filipinos.–VNA