SEMPORNA: Police have identified the Muktadil brothers as the key suspects in a series of cross border kidnappings and murders in Sabah's east coast.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman identified the brothers as Nilson Muktadil, in his 30s, and Badong, in his 40s, as the key suspects. He added that authorities are trying to identify a third accomplice.
The trio are believed to have entered into Semporna as illegal immigrants and were probably testing out the strength of the security forces which intercepted them between Tanjung Sirangol and Pulau Maiga on Thursday. The group, however, managed to escape.
Jalaluddin said the brothers were part of the southern Philippines Tawi Tawi island-based kidnap-for-ransom group that made forays into east coast waters to kidnap victims for ransom.
He said Nilson had lived in Kg Bangau-Bangau and was believed to be involved in the April 2 kidnapping of Chinese tourist, Gao Huayun, 29, and Filipino worker Marcy Darawan, 40 from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna.
"The brothers are believed to have been involved in four kidnapping incidents, with the last involving the shooting dead of a marine policeman and kidnapping of another policeman on July 12," he told reporters in Semporna on Saturday.
Jalaluddin's disclosure comes three days after police launched a massive hunt for three intruders in Semporna waters after they evaded a police patrol.
He said since the hunt began, authorities have arrested 103 illegal immigrants from three islands.
"We believe the immigrants in the island settlements could have harboured the suspects," he said.