Tighter security: Esscom armoured personnel carriers being deployed to their positions in Sandakan.
KOTA KINABALU: All senior commanders will remain on the ground during the festive period as security forces take their positions at strategic locations along Sabah’s east coast.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun will be joined by other heads of Esscom and army, maritime, navy and police officials during the Hari Raya holidays.
Unlike in the previous years, when they could join their families, Rashid and his ground commanders will be heading to the forward bases to spend time with their front-line men.
Rashid said the alert was at a normal level at both land and sea dividing Sabah and southern Philippines.
“But, if we receive any reports (of threats) and verify them as true, we will heighten our alert accordingly,” he added.
All the respective security units have been on alert since the July 12 Mabul Water Bungalows Resort attack and kidnapping in Semporna.
Following persistent reports of armed Filipino groups attempting to enter Sabah, the security forces also made their presence visible in Lahad Datu, Semporna, Sandakan and Kunak as well as near water villages.
Rashid advised the public not to listen to rumours during the Hari Raya period as the security forces were always ready to defend the people.
“Everyone can enjoy their Hari Raya without any fear or worry,” said Rashid.
He said the movement of security forces in various parts of Sabah’s east coast were normal logistic movements to key locations.
A 6pm to 6am two-week sea curfew since July 19 remains enforced, with about 69 individuals – mainly fishermen – for breaking the sea curfew at designated areas.
It is understood that a decision whether to continue or end the curfew will be made three days before Aug 2.
So far, there is no word on the release of kidnapped policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, and Kunak fish breeder Chan Sai Chuin, 32, who are in the hands of Abu Sayyaf group in Jolo.