ZAMBOANGA CITY – Malaysian police forces clashed with suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels and killing 3 of them off Semporna City in Sabah after they attacked at least 2 trawlers at sea.
Malaysian media said 2 more gunmen were captured by policemen, who also rescued one fishing boat skipper, believed to be a Filipino holding a special identity card. But another skipper was abducted by 2 gunmen who managed to escape from the fighting late Thursday that injured a policeman.
At least 7 gunmen on speedboat entered the Sabah from Tawi-Tawi, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, and seized the two skippers. Unknown to the gunmen, a boat operated by General Operations Force Tiger Platoon was in the area and protecting the fishing boats, and engaged the raiders in a sea battle.
The identities of those killed in the clash were not immediately known, but police continue interrogating those captured in an effort to extract more information about the gang’s operations in Sabah.
Filipino security officials did not give any statement on the cross-border raid and it was unknown how the gunmen managed to sneak into Sabah without being detected by the Philippine Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard deployed near the border.
President Duterte earlier said he gave permission to Malaysian authorities to pursue and destroy Abu Sayyaf kidnappers inside Philippine territory. (Mindanao Examiner)