Friday, April 19

Abu Sayyaf group suspected over Pom-Pom attack


KUALA LUMPUR: The al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group from the southern Philippines is suspected to be behind the murder-kidnap incident in Pulau Pom Pom, Semporna, Sabah Friday.

A Taiwanese tourist was murdered while his wife was kidnapped in the incident.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the attackers were believed to have come in a group of eight in a speedboat.

However, he said no ransom demands had been made so far and that efforts were continuing to find the victim with the assistance of the Philippine authorities.

“We believe the terrorists were able to slip in because there has been a big mobilisation of resources of the Philippine armed forces from the country’s south to the north to help out in relief work for victims of super typhoon Haiyan… they had taken advantage of the situation to commit terrorist acts,” he told a press conference after attending a ‘Sunathon’ (mass circumision ceremony) here yesterday.

Khalid also said he had been in consultation with the Malaysian Armed Forces to tighten security in Sabah waters following the incident.

He said police would also be mounting a massive operation around islands near Pom Pom to hunt down the perpetrators of the attack besides beefing up security in Sabah to prevent a repeat of such incidents.

“I wish to remind the public not to get involved in any terrorist groups and not to provide any information or support to the nation’s enemies,” he stressed.

He added that police would also be recommending to the authorities responsible for security of Sabah waters to ban the use of speedboats because this was the preferred mode of transport of terrorists and criminals in the area.

“We know such a ban will affect residents (in the area) from going about their daily lives… But there can be no compromise in security and safety issues.. We urge the authorities to take this drastic action,” he said.

He also did not expect the tourism industry in Sabah to be severely impacted by the incident as the security forces had increased patrolling activities around all resort islands and tourist destinations in the state, particularly  in Semporna, Sandakan and Tawau.— Bernama