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Terrorist Attack on Mabul

A policeman was killed and a second kidnapped after heavily armed gunmen opened fire near the dive resort of Mabul, Malaysia

The Foreign Office today advised tourists not to visit the area following the attack on Saturday. This latest attack follows a series of armed raids in the past year in the area which includes the world famous dive site of Sipadan  - in one a Taiwanese tourist was killed and his wife kidnapped.

The gunmen are though to be connected to the Philippine-based militant group Abu Sayyaf, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. 

Abdul Rashid Harun, head of Sabah state eastern security zone, said a police outpost guarding the resort in Mabul island was ambushed by at least six to eight masked gunmen wearing black t-shirts and military trousers.

'The group of heavily armed gunmen shot and killed a 32-year-old policeman and kidnapped another. They escaped in a boat into neighbouring waters. We have launched a security operation to track down the criminals," he said.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office today warned people against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.

Malaysia has  tightened security measures in the region after a spate of killings and abductions by Islamic terrorest from the Sulu Sea area of the southern Philippines.  Abdul Rashid said the attack on the policemen could have been in retaliation for the ongoing security clampdown 

In 2000 Abu Sayyaf abducted of 21 people including several foreign divers from Mabul.

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