TAWAU (SABAH,MALAYSIA), March 1 (NNN-THE STAR) An Abu Sayyaf sub-commander high on the Philippines’ wanted list was among three gunmen killed in a gunfight at a plantation in the East Malaysian state of Sabah.

Regional intelligence sources said Nurhassan Jamiri was armed with a high-powered rifle when he was gunned down.

He has been off the radar for nearly seven years.

Nurhassan, from Basilan island in southern Philippines, is suspected to have been involved in the 2011 Makati IED (improvised explosive device) attack on a bus in Manila that killed five passengers.

In his hometown of Basilan, Nurhassan led a notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-group consisting of slain bomb expert Mussana Jamiri, his cousin.

Intelligence sources believe that Nurhassan was involved in the Marawi City siege and might have fled to Sabah to seek refuge about three months ago.

At a press conference in Tawau, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Hazani Ghazali said the gunmen killed in a shootout at the Tawau plantation on Tuesday are suspected to be linked to a cross-border terrorist network that might be planning an attack on Sabah.

He said they could also be linked to 10 people arrested recently by the Bukit Aman anti-terrorism unit for planning to carry out attacks in the state.

Hazani said that while police had yet to positively identify the three gunmen, the weapons recovered � including a Colt M4 rifle and a revolver � did not look like those used by an armed robbery group.

He said authorities were working with their counterparts in the Philippines to help identify the three, who had no documents when they were shot dead.

Together with the M4 Colt 556 rifle, police recovered a .38 revolver with six bullets, a bag containing nine bullets, two packets of drugs and also a Perodua Kancil car that had been stolen from the state capital Kota Kinabalu.

The trio had opened fire at a pursuing police party inside a plantation about a kilometre from the main Kalabakan-Keningau road in a four-minute shootout that ended with the death of the three at about 3.20pm on Tuesday. NNN-THE STAR

Source: NAM News Network