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Kidnapped fishermen taken to Talipao
Published on: Friday, September 14, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The two Indonesian fishermen kidnapped in the waters off Semporna early Tuesday have been taken to an Abu Sayyaf operation base in Talipao, Sulu, southern Philippines, a security official has confirmed.

Daily Express was on Thursday told of their whereabouts by Nicholas Teo, Deputy Director at the Singapore-based Information Sharing Centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (Recaap).

Teo said Recaap had learnt the kidnappers and their hostages fled in a speedboat towards Tawi-Tawi in southern Philippines. "Recaap believe their final destination is Talipao in Sulu, an area where the Abu Sayyaf group has previously based its kidnapping-for-ransom operations," Teo said, citing information from the Philippine Coast Guard.

"They (kidnappers) must be desperate. Kidnapping fishermen is not going to get them much money."

A Malaysian security official, who declined to be named, later confirmed to Daily Express that the pirates and their hostages arrived in Talipao at 3am on Tuesday. He declined to give more details.


Talipao is a seaside municipality with a population of about 80,225 and has 52 "barangays" or villages.

It is also where 13 Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to the Philippine armed forces in a village back in June this year.

Two armed men boarded a fishing vessel and kidnapped its skipper and his assistant near Pualau Gaya, off Semporna, at about 1am on Tuesday.

Two other Indonesian crew were safe from being kidnapped after they hid themselves in some compartments upon realising their fishing trawler had been boarded by armed men wearing face masks who approached their vessel in a pump boat.


Daily Express has also reliably learnt that Esscom intensified operations in the two days since the incident and checked some outlying islands and islets around the scene of the kidnapping.

An Esscom source said there are some 300 islands from Kudat to Tawau and the agency had combed some of them in case the kidnappers had used them for staging or transiting purposes before or after committing their crime.

"No signs of that were found," said the source.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the kidnapping was an eye-opener that security measures in Sabah waters should be intensified.


He said the incident shows matters should be taken seriously and not lightly as it jeopardises the safety of Sabahans.

"It is an incident though not involving Malaysians but we must be mindful that it is in our own area. It is in our borderline and we have to take all the necessary actions.

"We have to be mindful that we have to intensify our effort. Double the surveillance here and double the intelligence to make sure that we will be in-the-know of what will come," he said. - Zam Yusa

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