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SABAH KIDNAPPING: Good chance of an 'inside job'

Publication Date : 06-04-2014

 

The authorities are looking into the possibility that Abu Sayyaf gunmen slipped into Semporna and blended with the local Filipino community for at least a week before they struck at the Singamata Reef Resort.

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) also believes the gunmen had “inside help” getting to the resort and knowing when to strike.

Four resort workers – a man and three women – have been detained to help in the investigations.

Esscom director-general Mohammad Mentek said the command was focusing on how the seven men got past the high security in Semporna waters to reach the resort, which was about five minutes from the mainland.

“We received information on March 26 that suspected gunmen on five boats were trying to enter Semporna.

“But when security forces moved into the area, they saw four boats fleeing back into international waters. They did not see a fifth boat.

“We have set up a team to investigate whether a fifth boat of intruders had entered and blended with the local coastal community,” he told The Star yesterday.

Mohammad said investigations so far indicated that the gunmen might have links with some of the resort workers as they were able to enter the area without any problem.

“There is a specific route to the resort and you must know the area for you to go in. If they had taken a wrong turn they would have been caught in fishing nets. They needed to be guided into the resort personally,” he said.

The intruders also struck immediately after General Operation Force personnel left the resort area to carry out patrols, he said, adding that there was reason to believe that “inside help” was used in the raid.

The gunmen grabbed Filipina resort worker Marcy Dayawan, 40, from her room before seizing Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, 29, who was standing on the veranda outside her room during the five-minute raid at 10:30pm on Wednesday.

Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib confirmed that two of those detained were Marcy’s relatives but declined to reveal how they were related.

Fifteen other resort workers have been detained for not having any valid travel documents. The resort operators may be charged in court for hiring illegals.

 

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