Curfew off Sabah extended due to ‘Filipino’ kidnappers

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Sabah authorities have extended until Sept. 28 a dusk-to-dawn curfew off the island’s east coast due to the continued threat of kidnap-for-ransom groups from the Philippines.

Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said the curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.

Omar said the continued curfew seeks to prevent terrorists and criminals from threatening the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists (https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/13/curfew-off-sabah-east-coast-extended-till-sept-28/).

Citing intelligence information, Omar said kidnap-for-ransom groups and the Abu Sayyaf are still trying to commit cross-border crimes.

The extension came two days after two Indonesian crew members of a fishing trawler were kidnapped from their boat near Pulau Gaya in Semporna last Sept. 11.

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has asked its Philippine counterparts for help in tracking down the abductors and the victims.

With the curfew, district police chiefs are allowed to issue permits to any eligible applicants to conduct fishing activities in the areas covered by the curfew.

The curfew started last July 19, following a series of kidnappings.