KOTA KINABALU: POLICE have identified a local man, who has been working with the Abu Sayyaf militant group, as the key person behind the kidnapping of two Malaysians from Lahad Datu on Nov 14.
Mohd Amin Bacho, 30, from Tawau, one of the Darul Islam Sabah terrorist group members wanted by police, had gone to Lahad Datu with six other Abu Sayyaf members and abducted cousins Tung Wee Jie, 26, and Tung Wee Wei, 34.
Police Special Task Force (Operations/Counter-Terrorism) director Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the identity of the key person was confirmed by Wee Jie, who escaped from his abductors in Jolo Island, the Philippines, on Aug 4, when police showed him several pictures during an interview on Monday.
He said the victim also told police that Amin had communicated with them using English and Bahasa Malaysia and that he had been staying with the terrorists on the island since they were abducted.
"Police checks found that the suspect is a member of Darul Islam Sabah, a group which had been busted in a massive operation in Tawau in November 2011 when we nabbed 13 members.
"An investigation paper under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 was opened on Amin last year for his involvement with the group," he said.
However, Fuzi said police have yet to be able to ascertain the fate of Wee Wei, and are cooperating with Philippine authorities to this end.
Sources said Amin, who joined Abu Sayyaf and sought refuge in Jolo Island after police launched an operation against Darul Islam Sabah in 2006, He underwent military training at Abu Sayyaf camps in 2005 and 2006.
Sources said Amin had participated in a conflict in Poso, Indonesia in 2001, besides being the person responsible for Darul Islam Sabah's plan to launch a suicide bomb attack in Tawau in 2006, in retaliation for the police crackdown against them.
"Since seeking refuge in Jolo Island, he took an active role in a series of brutal attacks by Abu Sayyaf there, including the beheading of several civilian hostages in southern Philippines in 2011.
"He is also a bomb expert, and made several explosive devices for the militant group for several attacks there recently."