Esscom Needs Well-Trained Hostage Negotiators To Deal With Abus

Akhbar Satar
Akhbar Satar

KOTA KINABALU – “It is high time that the police, in particular at the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) formed a hostage negotiation unit.”

This suggestion came from Help University Institute of Crime and Criminology director Datuk Akhbar Satar, who added that Malaysia should not bow to pressure from the kidnappers because it will be a trend.

Akhbar was quoted in the Star as saying that Esscom needs well-trained hostage negotiators and its own model to overcome the issue as a long-term solution.

“Malaysia needs an effective solution, such as a hostage negotiation unit, to stem the kidnapping trend in the east coast by Abu Sayyaf militants,” he said Thursday.

“How long do we keep entertaining the ransom demands from kidnappers? We have been played out by the Abu Sayyaf and it is time we came up with an effective solution than bowing to them,” added the criminologist.

“Crisis negotiation requires experience, self-control, a cool head and expertise. It’s not something that only works with negotiation techniques but a combination of psychology and police practical experience.”

Akhbar also suggested opting for kinetic force such as the use of special ops to free the hostages, like what is being practised in the United States.

Akhbar added that hostage negotiation techniques such as the Behavioral Change Stairway Model developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gets people or abductors to change their minds.

On the kidnapping of five Malaysians from Lahad Datu waters by Abu Sayyaf gunmen on July 18, he said it’s not enough that efforts to save them are made but ensuring that the issue does not recur is also essential.

“International collaboration, especially with the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, is also vital to strengthen border control,” he added.

Akhbar said increasing border patrols at high-risk coastal areas, strong military presence and placing radars in relevant or selected islands will hamper kidnap attempts.