KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s current dusk-to-dawn sea curfew, which ends on Saturday (May 15), has been extended for another two weeks until May 30.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali (pic) said the extension of the 6pm-6am curfew is needed due to continuous threats from cross-border criminals including kidnap-for-ransom groups.
The curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.
"There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on islands," he said in a statement on Friday (May 14).
Hazani said that according to intelligence sources, kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes.
On May 8, eight Abu Sayyaf members, their wives and children who were believed to have been in hiding for over the past year, were arrested during an integrated crackdown at a mangrove swamp in Beaufort.
Hazani said the curfew allows the authorities to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).
He added that the curfew is to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the area as well as establish a sense of security with nearby chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of a security team.
"I have also given the authority to all district police chiefs to issue permits to any eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishery activities in the areas affected by the curfew," he said.
The curfew was first implemented on July 19,2014, following a spate of kidnappings which saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then and the killing of several others including a policeman and tourists.