KOTA KINABALU: The dusk-to-dawn curfew in Sabah's east coast has been extended another two weeks from Thursday (Nov 7) amid continuing threats from Abu Sayyaf-linked cross-border kidnap groups and other criminal elements.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said the extension of the 6pm to 6am curfew until Nov 22 was necessary due to the continuing threat of kidnap-for-ransom groups and other criminals from neighbouring Philippines.
The continuing curfew, put in place since July 19,2014, comes amid reports that the Abu Sayyaf gunmen behind kidnap-for-ransom groups are seeking value targets along the southern Philippines Tawi Tawi chain of islands that straddles Sabah's east coast.
Comm Omar, in a statement issued here Wednesday (Nov 6), said there was a need to continue the curfew in the east coast waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers, and tourists.
"We have intelligence reports indicating that kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to commit cross-border crimes.
"We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone)," he added.
Comm Omar said the curfew would allow better enforcement and monitoring of movements of boats and vessels in the area.
The presence of a security team would also help establish a sense of security among nearby chalet owners and fishermen, he said.
"All district police chiefs have been authorised to issue permits to eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishing activities in the areas affected by the curfew," he added.
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