KOTA KINABALU: Two of the six men suspected to have kidnapped five Indonesian fishermen in Malaysian waters earlier this month have been shot dead by Philippine security forces.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Hazani Ghazali said the suspects were killed in a shootout with Philippine security forces two days ago.
It was learned the two suspects were killed after trading shots with Philippine forces in waters off Jolo Island, in the southern Philippines.
According to a source, the suspects had just dropped off the five abductees at an unspecified island in the southern Philippines and were heading to another island when they ran into the authorities.
On Jan 15, Arsyad Dahlan, 41, La Baa, 32, Riswanto Hayano, 27, Edi Lawalopo, 53, and Syarizal Kastamiran, 29 were abducted by armed gunmen in Tambisan waters off Lahad Datu district.
It was reported that eight men had boarded the Sandakan-registered fishing vessel and overpowered the five fishermen.
Esscom had received information on the abduction the following day from three other fishermen who jumped into the sea and escaped.
Authorities have linked the kidnappers to the Abu Sayyaf bandits.