Malaysian Security Forces Kill Suspected Southern Philippine Militant

Colin Forsythe
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
171204-MY-PH-sayyaf-620.jpg Sabah Police Commissioner Ramli Din shows a modified shotgun allegedly used by Abu Paliyak, who was killed in a shootout with Malaysian security forces near Lahad Datu, Dec. 4, 2017.

Malaysian security forces killed a member of a faction of the Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf during a shootout Monday in waters off Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state, the local police chief said.

Abu Paliyak or Commander Paliyak (alias Yusof), 31, was shot dead when he opened fire at security forces near Lahad Datu district, Sabah Police Commissioner Ramli Din told a news conference.

Paliyak had been an informant for the Remy Group, an Abu Sayyaf splinter that was involved in kidnappings and cross-border crimes on the state’s east coast, Ramli said.

“We believe Paliyak was out at sea to observe the operations and movements of our security personnel and to relay the information to kidnap-for-ransom groups,” Ramli said in Lahad Datu.

The Abu Sayyaf, or Bearers of the Sword, is the most violent of Muslim rebel factions in the southern Philippines and was notorious for beheading hostages. It claimed responsibility for a ferry bombing in Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people in 2004.

The group also was blamed for a spate of kidnappings at sea in recent years, in which Malaysian and Indonesian sailors were taken hostage.

Paliyak, according to Ramli, was involved in maritime hijackings and kidnappings in waters off Sabah’s Lahad Datu and Kunak towns in 2014 and 2015. With Paliyak’s death, authorities believe they have solved many of those cases, Ramli said, without elaborating.

The shootout occurred when a Malaysian patrol approached Paliyak’s boat after it was seen operating in a suspicious manner, police said. The suspect allegedly sped off and fired a shot at the direction of the security forces, forcing them to return fire.

Police said they had recovered a modified shotgun from Paliyak’s boat.

Paliyak was part of an 11-member Remy Group, which was involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities in the southern Philippines and Sabah’s east coast, Ramli said.

Philippine authorities recently detained five group members and killed four other suspects, he said, adding the last member is believed to be involved in criminal activities in the southern Philippines.



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