Malaysia, Philippines 'verifying' reports of abduction of 4 Malaysians off Sabah

A group of unidentified suspects allegedly brought the captives to the shores of Sitankai and later transferred them to Sulu.

Malaysia, Philippines verifying reports on abduction of four Malaysians off Sabah
Malaysian police Reuters

Malaysian and Philippine investigators are are verifying reports of the possible kidnapping of four Malaysians in Sulu waters on Thursday morning.

Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Twitter that they have not received any report of abduction. "We are still waiting for confirmation from the Philippines,' he said.

Sabah Police Commissioner Rashid Harun also said he was unaware of any recent kidnapping in the area. When asked about the incident he said, "I have not heard of it".

According to the reports of ABS-CBN, a Filipino commercial broadcast televiion network, a group of unidentified suspects allegedly brought the captives to the shores of Sitankai. The Tawi-Tawi police director, Joselito Salido, said that later the four Malaysians were transferred to Sulu.

The radio station also stated that the Philippine army's Western Mindanao Command is verifying the information.

However, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chief, Wan Abdul Beri Wan Abdul Khalid, said they have got information regarding another abduction but Esscom did not receive any report of the incident.

The Tawi-Tawi police chief, Supt Elizalde Quiboyen, said that as soon as they received the information, they carried out intelligence checks. But there were no intelligence reports regarding any abduction or "unusual movement" in the area from the Sitangkai municipality close to Sabah borders.

"We would normally hear of these things because villagers would report them to their barangay captains," Quiboyen said.

Last week, the Abu Sayyaf militants released four Sarawakian sailors who were abducted from a ship off the east coast of Sabah in April.

This article was first published on June 16, 2016