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US offers help after Sabah kidnapping

The United States has offered to help beef up security in the state of Sabah in east Malaysia, after another abduction was reported in the area. 

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States has offered to help beef up security in the state of Sabah in east Malaysia.

The offer came after another abduction was reported in the area close to southern Philippines where Muslim rebels have fought government troops for decades.

A 32-year-old Malaysian fish farmer and his worker were snatched from a fish farm in Kunak, some 60 kilometres south of coastal town of Lahad Datu, by gunmen who came in a speedboat in the wee hours on Sunday.

The worker reportedly jumped off the speedboat and escaped, while the whereabouts of the fish farmer are still unknown.

It is the third kidnapping case in the east coast of Sabah this year.

Just last month, another fish farmer from China was abducted and is still believed to be held somewhere in southern Philippines.

The two incidents came after a Chinese tourist and a Filipino worker were snatched from a diving resort in the area.

They were released almost three months later after ransom was reportedly paid.

Malaysian authorities believe the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militant group is to blame.

Home Minister Zahid Hamidi said US President Obama has offered to help.

He was speaking after a meeting with the US ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Yun.

"Yes, they have offered their assets. Assets to be deployed to the Malaysian Navy," said Mr Zahid Hamidi.

Malaysia has ramped up security in Sabah after Philippine militants entered the area in 2013.

Authorities have even set up an eastern command centre known as Esscom.

But the government will have to relook their operations and intelligence sharing with the Philippines in the wake of these kidnappings. 

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