KOTA KINABALU: Haji Gulam or Mulpi Ladja, a notorious Abu Sayyaf-linked gunman who was released by the Philippines authorities recently, is no longer a security threat to Sabah.
The state police, however, said the dawn-to-dusk curfew in Sabah’s east coast has been extended for another two weeks from today amid continuing threats from Abu Sayyaf-linked cross-border kidnap groups and other criminal elements.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Deputy Comm Datuk Hazani Ghazali said Gulam, who was listed among the Esscom’s wanted list, was ageing.
“No more a threat, ” he said when contacted for comment on the release of Gulam whose real name is Murphy Basaluddin Ladja.
Gulam, now in his 70s, was reportedly one of the leaders of the infamous attack on Semporna in April 1996.
During the several hours of controlling the town, he and some 30 gunmen launched a grenade attack on the Semporna police headquarters as well as the marine police and General Operations Force base.
They fled after the police launched a counter-attack with one gunman killed.
Sources said Gulam had also led the kidnapping of China national Gao Huayun and Filipino resort worker Marcy Darawan on April 2,2014 from the Singamata Reef Resort.
The hostages were released on May 30 after ransoms were allegedly paid.
Sabah Commissioner of Police, Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah meanwhile said the extension until Nov 22 was necessary due to the continuing threat by kidnap-for-ransom groups and other criminals from the Philippines.
“We have intelligence reports indicating that kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to commit cross-border crimes.
“We want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near Eastern Sabah Security Zone, ” he said.
Comm Omar added that the curfew would allow better enforcement and monitoring of the 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.
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