KUNAK: Two suspected kidnap-for-ransom agents were shot dead Thursday night by security forces close to the Pulau Boheyan waters within the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) area.
ESSCom commander, Deputy Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the men, in their 50s and believed to be illegal immigrants, were killed in a shootout with the security forces following a 30-minute boat chase.
The security forces recovered a pump boat, two revolvers, a .22 and a .38; seven .22 bullets; one .38 bullet and five empty casings and a samurai sword, he said at a press conference here Friday.
Hazani said two men in a pump boat sped off upon seeing a security forces boat in the vicinity of Kampung Air Kunak Tiga at about 10 pm Thursday.
The security forces boat gave chase and flashed the blue lights to warn them to stop but the men opened fire at the security forces who responded with gunfire as the boats reached Pulau Boheyan waters, he said.
The ESSCom security forces squad, led by ACP Mohd Nasaruddin M Nasir, found the bodies of the two men with gunshot wounds in the pump boat, he said.
Hazani also said that the ESSCom special operation also resulted in the seizing of a pump boat in Kampung Air Kunak Tiga that was apparently used in the kidnap of two Indonesian fishermen in Pulau Gaya, Semporna, on Sept 11.
He said 18 people were detained and 16 pump boats were seized during the operation in Kampung Air Kunak Tiga, launched along with the Sabah police.
Hazani said he agreed with a state government proposal for the registration of all pump boats in the state and their colour coding according to district or zone to facilitate inspections by the security forces.
On May 08, it was reported that four cross-border gunmen were shot dead by Sabah authorities off the coast of Laut Sahabat in Lahad Datu.
The authorities were conducting a joint sea patrol when they detected a vessel carrying about five people moving suspiciously towards a group of fishermen.
The security officers, comprising members of ESSCom, the Marine Police and 69 Commando Unit, attempted to intercept the vessel when the suspects started opening fire at them.
“The officers shot back at them in self-defence and upon inspecting the boat, they found two bodies inside with bullet wounds. The other two bodies were discovered in the water.
It was not ruled out that the gunmen were members of the southern Philippines-based kidnap-for-ransom groups.