Military probes new abduction in Sabah

Posted on May 08, 2014

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The military in western Mindanao is looking at information circulating here that the latest abduction of a Chinese national in Lahad Datu, Sabah, early Tuesday involves members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Reports also claimed the kidnap victim, said to be a Chinese national, has been brought to Sulu.

"There is no confirmation yet," Brig. Gen. Martin N. Pinto, commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade based in the capital town of Jolo, told BusinessWorld in an interview.

On Tuesday, five armed men wearing military uniforms on board a speedboat abducted Yang Zai Lin, 34, manager of a fish farm in Lahad Datu.

Reports from Malaysian authorities said the kidnappers were armed with M16 rifles, had paddled a 40-horsepower white boat to the fish farm avoiding the facility’s security guards.

Following the new abduction in Sabah, Malaysia’s Star Online news Web site reported that chief minister Datuk Musa Aman has announced that a curfew and travel restrictions would be imposed in high-risk areas off the coast of Sabah.

Last month, the Abu Sayyaf Group also abducted Chinese tourist Gao Huayun and a Filipina resort worker identified as Marcy Dayawan at Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort in the town of Semporna.

The Abu Sayyaf Group, which is believed to have a strong link with the al Qaeda terror organization, is known for kidnap-for-ransom activities as well as bombings in western pats of Mindanao.

The group was set up in the 1990s, reportedly with seed money from al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Last November, suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnapped a Taiwanese couple holidaying in another Sabah resort.

The husband was killed during the abduction.

His wife was freed after being held for 36 days on the main Sulu island of Jolo.

A ransom is believed to have been paid for her release. -- Albert F. Arcilla