Semporna – Three brothers from the Muktadil family, a kidnapping-for-ransom family based in Tawi Tawi, southern Philippines, have emerged as the key suspects in the terror stalking the eastern seaboard of Sabah.
Police have identified Nilson Muktadil, in his 30s, and Badong Muktadil, in his 40s, as two of the suspects. Police are yet to get a name on the third suspect.
Sabah Police Commissioner Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman disclosed that security forces intercepted the trio between Tanjung Sirangol and Pulau Maiga on Thursday but they managed to escape.
“The wanted men may have entered Semporna illegally and were probably testing the strength of security forces,” said Jalaluddin yesterday in Semporna in explaining the encounter on Thursday.
Jalaluddin was disclosing the hunt for the three suspects in Semporna waters after they broke through a police patrol.
He said that as part of the increasingly massive hunt for the suspects, security forces nabbed 103 illegal immigrants on three islands in the vicinity.
“We suspect that illegals hiding out in certain island settlements may have provided refuge to the suspects on the run,” he said.
Jalaluddin added that the brothers are suspects in the shooting death of a marine policeman and kidnapping of another on July 12.
They are wanted in connection with four recent kidnapping incidents.
Nilson alone, last known address in Kg Bangau-Bangau, Semporna, was believed to be the mastermind behind the April 2 kidnapping of Chinese tourist, Gao Huayun, 29, and Filipino worker Marcy Darawan, 40 from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna.