KOTA KINABALU - Kidnapped marine policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip is in good health although the authorities have temporarily lost contact with his abductors in Jolo island in southern Philippines.
Dismissing claims that the 26-year-old policeman was suffering from malaria, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said information available indicated that he was healthy.
“We know of his condition as the kidnappers have given us their word that they will not harm Zakiah unless he tries to escape,” he said.
“Contact was temporarily lost because of a recent operation by Philippine military which forced the group holding Zakiah to move deeper into the jungle.
“We need to reconnect with the gunmen and continue with our rescue efforts once the situation is calm,” he added.
He was responding to a claim by Filipino anti-kidnapping activist Prof Octavio Dinompo that Kons Zakiah was down with malaria.
The authorities, assured Jalaluddin, were working to secure Kons Zakiah’s release and as part of the effort, they needed to reduce contact between the Abu Sayyaf gunmen and his wife as well as other irrelevant people who had since come into the picture.
Kons Zakiah, said Jalaluddin, spoke to his wife Sharifah Erna Berson about a month ago.
He said there were also other kidnap-for-ransom groups that were trying to take advantage of the situation.
“We will deal directly with the person in charge (the abductors) and are putting in place our strategy to secure his freedom through negotiations,” he said.
Kons Zakiah was taken from the Mabul Water Bungalows in Semporna during a raid by gunmen on July 12 last year.
His colleague Kpl Abdul Rajah Jamuan, 32 was killed.