Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said marine constable Zakiah Aleip had contacted to his wife by phone. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Marine constable Zakiah Aleip is confirmed to be alive two days after being taken hostage by Filipino gunmen after a shootout at Sabah’s Mabul Island that killed his colleague.
The 26-year-old had phoned his wife Sharifah Erna Berson and informed her about his status, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told The Star daily today.
“He called his wife last night saying that he is OK except that he is with some people,” Khalid was quoted as saying, adding that the police were uncertain about the location of the missing cop and were waiting for further calls to find out.
According to The Star, the police roughly know the identities of some of those involved in the Saturday night shootout between the police and an estimated eight to 11 masked gunmen.
Zakiah’s colleague, Corporal Abd Rajah Jamuan, was killed in the gunfire exchange.
According to a brief, Semporna-based Marine Operation Force (MOF) chief ASP Safardi Abd Samad received a tip-off from police patrol chief Sergeant Jeffridin Harun about the ambush and reports of random gunshots fired at eateries, patrol boats and inside the Jeti Smart Water Bungalow Resort reception on the island at about 11.10pm Saturday.
The masked suspects armed with 7.62mm calibre rifles fired more than 10 shots, read the summary, adding that the shells were scattered all over the area.
The suspects are believed to have sneaked onto the island, taking cover in the low tide before launching their attack.
Jeffridin is understood to have conducted an inspection of the area after the shootout.
The police have mobilised air and sea patrol units to search for Zakiah, said the police chief, adding that the incident will be brought to the attention of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) operation director.
The latest incident comes on the heels of the kidnapping of a fish breeder and an immigrant worker by armed raiders from Kunak near Lahad Datu, Sabah’s easternmost area, last month.
In April, a Chinese tourist and a Filipino resort worker were taken from a holiday spot in Sipadan.
Esscom’s failure to secure the state’s porous maritime borders has come under severe criticism following a string of kidnappings since January.
Esscom was created in March last year to prevent armed incursions following the month-long assault on Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu by militants from South Philippines with a reported death toll of 56 intruders, nine Malaysian security personnel and six civilians.