Abus Strike Two Fishing Boats Off Sabah; Kidnap Owner, Rob Crew

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Fishing trawlers that frequently ply the seas off Sabah's east coast waters. Two were attacked by gunmen Tuesday night and the owner of one kidnapped.
Fishing trawlers that frequently ply the seas off Sabah’s east coast waters. Two were attacked by gunmen Tuesday night and the owner of one kidnapped.

KOTA KINABALU – A group of armed men, suspected to be Abu Sayyaf, kidnapped the Malaysian owner of a trawler and robbed the crew of another fishing vessel off Sabah Tuesday night, said police.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said Wednesday the incidents happened in the Pulau Gaya waters of Semporna and the Tungku waters of Lahad Datu, respectively, at about 9.30pm and 10pm.

The two boats were five nautical miles apart, and a speed boat could cover the distance in about 30 minutes, he told reporters here Wednesday.

Abdul Rashid Harun
Abdul Rashid Harun

Abdul Rashid identified the kidnapped trawler owner as Ruslan Sarapin, 39.

He said Ruslan was kidnapped by six armed men at about 9.30pm as he and his 26 crew were fishing.

“The kidnappers came to the trawler in a speedboat and were armed with M14 and M16 guns.

“Four of them boarded the trawler and ransacked the boat. Then they took the owner captive and also grabbed all documents, personal belongings and the mobile telephones of all the crew,” he said.

Twenty-five of the crew were foreigners and one, a Malaysian, he said.