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Gunmen abduct tourist and worker from diving island

April 4, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Malaysia, which has been preoccupied for the past three weeks with the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, now has another crisis to contend with. Armed men have abducted two women from a Malaysian diving resort off Borneo.

Security forces said gunmen abducted the two women, a Chinese tourist and a Philippine hotel worker, on Wednesday night from Singgahmata island off the coastal town of Semporna in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah. Dusit-Hot-Deals-Banner-250x250-06

Malaysian media reports said the 29-year old tourist from was in her room when the gunmen struck and forced her into a waiting boat. Other reports said both women were snatched while on the jetty.

The fact that the tourist was Chinese won’t help Malaysia’s image in China. Most of the 239 people aboard MH370 were Chinese.

Chinese embassy officials were on their way to the island resort, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

Sabah is close to the southern Philippines, which has been plagued by Islamist violence in recent years. Last February, over 100 armed Filipinos landed by boat and launched attacks. In November, armed men landed on nearby Pom-Pom island, killed a tourist from Taiwan and abducted his wife.

In 2000, the Philippines-based, al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf gang, known for kidnapping and beheading hostages, abducted about 20 Malaysian and Western tourists on Sipadan island in Sabah. Philippine security forces eventually rescued all but one.

Abu Sayyaf, also known as al-Harakat al-Islamiyya, is one of several militant Islamist separatist groups based in and around the southern Philippines. Although the Philippines is overwhelmingly Christian, for almost 30 years Muslim groups in the south have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country.

Written by : Peter Needham

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