SANDAKAN: Eight members of the Abu Sayyaf group detained by the Malaysian security forces in Beaufort last May 8 were handed over to the Philippine security forces today, said Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali.
He said the detainees, who included a ‘sub-leader’ in the Abu Sayyaf group and wanted by the Philippine security forces, were handed over to the Philippine authorities at 8.30 am in the waters bordering Malaysia and the Philippines.
They were handed over by the Malaysian Immigration Department, represented by Sandakan Immigration Enforcement chief Muhammad Isa Hasley, to the Western Mindanao Command and the Sulu Joint Task Force, represented by Brig Gen Arturo G Rojas, he told reporters after the event today.
He said the handing over of the detainees was made in accordance with Section 32 (1) of the Immigration Act.
The Abu Sayyaf group members were detained last May 8 in a special operation conducted by the police and the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) in a mangrove swamp area in Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort.
Meanwhile, Hazani said the security forces would step up security and intelligence control in the state to track down the remaining members or cells of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
He said a total of 83 people, believed to be members of terrorist groups, had been arrested in Sabah since 2014.