Security forces in Sabah's east coast on alert against Abu Sayyaf

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 31 Oct 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Security forces in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) in Sabah’s east coasts have mobilised all assets to prevent cross-border crimes following information on potential kidnappings in the area.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said they received information that a group of approximately 10 Abu Sayyaf Group members armed with firearms was planning to kidnap businessmen or foreign vessel crew members at any chance they had in waters off Sabah.

He said the information also stated that the Abu Sayyaf were using unmarked blue-and-white speedboats locally known as jungkong for this purpose.

(Jungkongs are Malaysian-styled speedboats designed to cut through shallow waters.)

“We have mobilised all our assets to the field and guard posts,” Hazani said in a statement here on Wednesday (Oct 31).

He said they had also informed all post guards and patrol, as well as security forces, to be on high alert at all times while operations were carried out to prevent the entry of these criminals.

“We need the cooperation from all local communities, especially those living in water villages and coastal areas, to provide information if they see or know of any suspicious people or activities,” he said.

Hazani said the information received was similar to what was published in an online article by the Marine Link warning sea crews and coastal residents of kidnapping threats.

The article, titled "Piracy Warning Off Philippines", also stated that the Philippine Focal Point (Philippine Coast Guard) had warned that a group of approximately 10 Abu Sayyaf members armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launchers was planning to conduct kidnapping activities in Sabah.

It urged ship masters and crews to strongly exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters of Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas.

The Esszone includes districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

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