Esszone curfew to be extended to Aug 13, says Sabah police chief

KOTA KINABALU: Residents living in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) are reminded to stay home during the daily 6pm to 6am curfew hours, says Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali (pic).

He said the dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which ends on Thursday (July 29) will be extended for another two weeks to Aug 13.

The sea curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.

On the curfew, Hazani said in a statement on Wednesday (July 28) that no one is allowed to be out of their homes or enter the curfew areas during the curfew hours.

He said this was needed due to continuous threats from cross-border criminals, including from kidnap-for-ransom groups.

"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 people in these areas," said Hazani.

Hazani also said that intelligence shows that kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes.

He said the curfew allows authorities to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone.

Hazani added that the curfew was to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the area as well as to 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 19 July 2014 following a spate of kidnappings which saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fed and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.

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