World Bulletin / News Desk
Security forces said Friday that they suspect that a Malaysian couple abducted overnight in Malaysia's easternmost state is already in the Philippines.
Authorities have said gunmen believed to be Abu Sayyaf fighters seized the victims, identified as Thien Nyuk Fun and her husband Bernard Ted Fen, in Sabah at around 7 p.m. Thursday.
Philstar reported Friday that the couple -- owners of Ocean King Restaurant -- were taken via speedboats to the southern Philippines island border.
Col. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, told the daily that Malaysian officials have reached them to monitor the possible presence of the victims.
"Flash alarm has been raised to all security units in the area," Arrojado said.
He said that all security units in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu had been alerted.
Sabah is around 322 kilometers from the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo in the southern Philippines. For years the group has used islands between the Philippines and Malaysia as their base, kidnapping foreigners, and launching attacks on Philippines armed forces.
Two European bird-watchers were abducted in the Philippines southern island province of Tawi-Tawi sometime in February 2012, and two German nationals who went missing near Palawan in April last year -- but were later freed for a suspected ransom -- were also believed to be held by the group in the jungles of Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf was also blamed for the kidnapping of 21 people, including several foreign tourists, from another Sabah diving resort in 2000.
Twenty of those hostages were released within five months, reportedly after huge ransoms were paid.
A Filipino captive was held until 2003.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Mayıs 2015, 17:55