ESSZone Curfew Extended To Keep Out Abu Sayyaf, Sulu Gunmen

Security forces patrol waters in Sabah's east coast which is under a 7pm to 5am curfew.
Security forces patrol waters in Sabah’s east coast which is under a 7pm to 5am curfew.

KOTA KINABALU – The curfew order in waters of seven districts in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone), which ends today, has been extended from Sept 25 until Oct 10.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said with the enforcement of the curfew order, residents in the affected areas are required to be indoors from 7 pm and 5 am daily.

He said the curfew involved waters off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran districts.

The curfew order is extended to ensure the waters in the ESSZone are not encroached upon by armed gunmen who could threaten the safety of international researchers and tourists visiting the resort islands in the area, he said in a statement Saturday.

Abdul Rashid said based on information received, the group from southern Philippines which carried out kidnapping for ransom and the Abu Sayyaf militant group were still trying to sneak into the ESSZone waters to commit cross-border crime.

He said the curfew order was also extended to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Sabah residents in the ESSZone area.

It is also to facilitate monitoring and enforcement over movements and give a safe feeling to chalet operators and fishermen through the presence of the security forces in the area, he added.

He said all district police chiefs in the ESSZone area had been given authority to issue permit to those applying for fishing activities and to pass through the curfew areas in emergency situations.