Tourists have fled a luxury resort on a Malaysian island after Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed the hotel by boat, shot dead a policeman and kidnapped a second officer.
Eight assailants in military fatigues snuck in by boat, climbed onto a wharf and began unleashing a hail of bullets into the restaurant at Water Bungalow Resort on Mabul Island, off the north east coast of Borneo, shortly before midnight.
Police guards, who were on duty there due to previous attacks on islands off the east coast of Borneo, returned fire but one was fatally wounded and a second is believed to have been dragged away as a hostage.
The island is a popular destination for Western tourists attracted by the spectacular diving experience offered in the turquoise waters that are abundant with spectacular coral and exotic fish.
The resort was closed off today after guests were ordered to leave for their safety and because a large team of police arrived from Kuala Lumpur to search for the gunmen and carry out a forensic examination of the resort.
Tour officials said that despite the bullets that smashed into the restaurant and the reception area guests had not been injured, but it was not immediately known how close any were to being shot.
‘I’ve contacted one of the salesmen for the resort and I’ve been told that all guests are safe and accounted for,’ said Emily Majaham, a manager of the booking company, Asia Dive Holidays.
Another spokeswoman told the Daily Mail: ‘We always have a number of guests from Britain, Australia, America and European countries staying with us.
‘I understand they have all been moved to other resorts or to other islands or the mainland.’
Police said that a marine police officer identified as 32-year-old Corporal Abdul Rajah Jamuan was shot dead and his colleague, Constable Zakiah Aleip remains missing, having possibly been taken away as a hostage.