KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ongoing dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which is scheduled to end on Thursday (Sept 22) has been extended to Oct 7.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Idris Abdullah said the two-week extension of the 6pm-6am curfew was needed due to continued threats from cross-border criminals, including kidnap-for-ransom groups.
The curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.
“There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on islands,” Comm Idris said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 21).
He said according to intelligence sources, kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes.
“The curfew allows authorities to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone),” he said.
Idris said the curfew was also needed to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of maritime activities in the area as well as establish a sense of security among nearby chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of security teams.
“I have given the authority to all district police chiefs to issue permits to any eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishery activities in areas affected by the curfew,” he added.
The curfew was first implemented on July 19, 2014 following 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.