Ukrainian villagers urged to help recover MH17 belongings, remains

Khalid pins a promotion badge on Acryl Sani, who was promoted to the rank of commissioner of police, October 7, 2014. — Picture by Bernama
Khalid pins a promotion badge on Acryl Sani, who was promoted to the rank of commissioner of police, October 7, 2014. — Picture by Bernama

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — The authorities have turned to villagers in eastern Ukraine to return the belongings or remains of MH17 victims as extreme weather conditions and security threats still forbid international investigators from entering the crash site.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the Ukrainian government had urged the villagers to assist the authorities.

“Our Netherlands counterparts are monitoring developments to see if any of the villagers have responded to the call by the Ukrainian government,” he said.

Khalid said the authorities had called for villagers to look out for body parts and plane wreckage in their areas.

He said the situation in eastern Ukraine had worsened as the war was on-going.

“I received a report this morning that three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and several civilians injured in a gun battle at Donetsk Airport,” he said.

Khalid said there were 12 different groups involved in the conflict and none of them had accepted the ceasefire.

He said any possible safe return to the rebel-held territory would only be in April when weather conditions returned to normal.

“However, on our side, the police and investigation teams will be on standby throughout in case there is a chance to enter the crash site or if we are called by our counterparts there for other operations before April,” he said.

On an update to Malaysians involved in Islamic State (IS) groups in Iraq and Syria, Khalid said police have identified individuals who plan on joining those groups.

“We know who they are and we are monitoring them closely,” he warned.

Khalid said police presented details of the individuals to International Police (Interpol) and Inter-Asian police (Aseanpol) to put them on alert.

He said the number of identified and suspected militants were not at an alarming level and added that police will nab them soon.

“Apart from that we have also identified the recruiter and are currently gathering evidence to arrest the person soon,” he told reporters after he attended a handing over of duties ceremony between the head of Community Safety and Crime Prevention Department Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani and Internal Security and Public Order director Datuk Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim.

He also officiated the promotion of 28 officers within the department.

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