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Government Will Not Bow To Ransom Demand From Kidnappers - Ahmad Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Bernama) -- The government will not bow or entertain any ransom demand from the armed group involved in kidnapping marine police constable Zakia Aliep, 26, in an ambush in Pulau Mabul last Saturday.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government could not simply fulfil the demand of the kidnappers as it would be seen as encouraging them to get easy money through kidnapping.

He said the authorities had received a phone call from the kidnappers asking for 10 million in ransom money for the release of Zakia.

"There was a call made by the kidnappers to the marine police in Sabah, asking for 10 million ransom, but it was not stated whether they wanted it in Philippine peso, United States (US) dollar or Malaysian ringgit.

"We, the government will not respond to that demand," he told reporters after being interviewed in the segment 'Mesej Dari Penjara' in TV3's Wanita Hari Ini programme, Thursday.

In the 11.10pm incident last Saturday, marine police corporal Ab Rajah Jamuan, 32, was killed and Zakia was abducted during the ambush by a group of armed men at the Mabul Water Bungalow Resort, Pulau Mabul in Semporna, Sabah.

Zakia is the fourth victim abducted in Sabah this year after the incidents at the Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort in Semporna, Pulau Baik in Lahad Datu and in Kampung Sapang, west of Pulau Timbun Mata, Kunak.

Ahmad Zahid said the government was committed to enhancing security control in Sabah by deploying an additional 680 security forces personnel; 330 of whom from the Royal Malaysian Police and 350 from the Malaysian Armed Forces, in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) area.

"We will not announce our strategies and next course of action...right now, we are firm on being offensive, not defensive," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said based on investigation, the ambush was initially aimed at kidnapping the resort owner, but the presence of security forces personnel at the resort forced the kidnappers to change their target.

On the allegation that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari was involved in the abduction and intrusion incidents in Sabah, Ahmad Zahid said the abduction was believed to be done by Nur Misuari's men.

"Based on the information we obtained so far, Nur Misuari is seriously ill and it is his men who are being highly ambitious to set up an MNLF military platoon. It is indeed a wrong move," he added.

--BERNAMA




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