Sabah sea curfew extended to Oct 22

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which ends on Friday (Oct 7) has been extended for another 14 days to Oct 22.

This is the 196th time the curfew will be extended since it was first implemented on July 16, 2014.

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

Sabah Police Commissioner Comm Datuk Idris Abdullah said residents in the areas covered by the curfew are required to stay at home from 6pm to 6am, adding outsiders were not allowed to enter the curfew zones.

He said the extension of the curfew was needed due to lingering threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) groups.

Comm Idris added that the curfew is to ensure Malaysian waters are not intruded by terrorists or criminals from southern Philippines and subsequently ensure the safety of international researchers or foreign tourists visiting islands in Sabah.

He said their intelligence sources found that KFR groups, as well as the Abu Sayyaf group were still attempting to enter the country’s waters and carry out kidnapping activities, as well as other cross-border crimes.

“The curfew will allow security forces to look after the safety of people who travel at sea and those living in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone),” he said, in a statement here on Thursday (Oct 6).

“It will also allow us to enforce and monitor the movement of vessels, as well as create a sense of security and confidence among chalet operators and fishermen through the omnipresence of security vessels enforcing this curfew,” Comm Idris added.

He said he had also given the authority to the respective district police chiefs to issue permits to any applicant who fulfill the necessary requirements to conduct fishing activities or to ply through the water routes in the curfew areas.

The curfew was enforced following a spate of kidnappings that saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fen and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.

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