Sabah sea curfew extended to June 9

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew has been extended for another 14 days to June 9.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Idris Abdullah said residents in the areas covered by the curfew are required to stay at home from 6pm to 6am while outsiders are not allowed to enter the curfew zones.

The extension of the curfew is needed due to continuous threats from cross-border criminals including from kidnap-for-ransom groups.

“The curfew is needed to ensure terrorists or criminals from the southern Philippines do not intrude into our waters,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (May 24).

Idris said that the extension was made as intelligence sources have revealed that the Abu Sayyaf group is still attempting to carry out kidnapping-for-ransom activities as well as other border crimes.

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

Idris said 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).

“It will also allow us to enforce and monitor the movement of vessels as well as create a sense of security and confidence to chalet operators and fishermen through the presence of a security team,” he said.

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

First implemented on July 19, 2014, the curfew followed a spate of kidnappings which saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fen and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.