Abducted marine cop released, says Sabah Chief Minister (updated)
Marine policeman Lance Corporal Zakia Aleip has been released, nine months after he was kidnapped by armed militants believed to be from the Abu Sayyaf group.
Sabah police commissioner Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said Zakia was freed on Friday afternoon, and taken to Sulu, in the southern Philippines, at about 11pm.
A police team brought him out of Indanan, Sulu, and he arrived in Sandakan at about 7.30 am this morning, according to Star Online. His wife Sharifah Erna Berson, 23, contacted by phone at her home in Tamparuli, said she was very grateful over his release.
An hour later, Kons Zakiah was brought to meet Chief Minister Musa Aman at his home at Kampung Sungai Kayu, Sandakan. Musa said he had informed the prime minister of the policeman’s release.
Zakia, who arrived in Sandakan by both this morning was present at a press conference to announce his release, Bernama reported. He said he was grateful and thankful to Allah for his freedom, and thanked the government for its efforts to secure his freedom.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said Zakia was freed after continued efforts by the government through negotiations.
Zakia, 26, was kidnapped after gunmen attacked a marine police unit at a resort in Pulau Mabul, Semporna, at around 11.10pm on July 12. His colleague Corporal Ab. Rajah Jamuan, 32, was killed in the attack.