KOTA KINABALU, Oct 14 ― Police are investigating reports that two fishermen on a boat off Tigabu Island were attacked by four armed men Wednesday night, resulting in one of them getting injured.
State police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun confirmed receiving reports of the case, where two fishermen from a Sandakan-registered trawler anchored near Tigabu island some two hours from Kudat were shot by unknowned assailants at 11pm on Wednesday.
According to sources, the trawler had left Sandakan on Sunday morning for a routine fishing trip in northern Kudat and had stopped for the night when it was approached by a pump boat with four armed men onboard.
The two fishermen were woken up by the sound of gunshots which had hit one of them, a 51-year-old Indonesian, before he could cut the fishing net off with a machete to get away and to make their escape towards Sandakan.
The injured fisherman is being treated in Sandakan for gunshot wounds to his right arm, and rib, with some injuries to his face.
The other unharmed 37-year-old sailor later lodged a police report, claiming the men were dressed in civilian clothes and were unmasked. At least one of the four was allegedly holding a long-range rifle.
“We have received reports of the incident and are trying to verify details, including whether the incident occurred in our waters,” said Abdul Rashid.
Police are also investigating the suspects and their motives in the case.
While the east coast of Sabah has been riddled with reports of attacks out at sea in recent months, incidents of pirate attacks and kidnapping in northern Sabah within Malaysian waters is fairly uncommon due to its geographical location that is further from southern Philippines.
But the war by the Philippine army against guerrillas in southern Philippines have led to expectations that many militants may flee the region and make their way to Sabah.