Posted on March 16, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie

3 new kidnap-for-ransom groups have been identified in Sabah by Kota Kinabalu, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom). 

At a press conference last night Chief DCP Hazani Ghazali said the groups were involved in robbery of people and possessions.

He was unable to give further details while the police operations are ongoing.

Hazani has requested that any information known by the media does not get published to the public while the investigation continues:

“You have to understand that the matter did not end there. We had to look for the accomplices of the three slain suspects but that news report upended our investigation.

“We hope the media will give their cooperation by verifying their information with us before reporting it.”

Hazani also revealed a planned road checkpoint to stem the crossing of criminal elements from the east coast of the state to the west, to be set up at the end of the month.

“We will start the road checkpoint in Kalabakan and then have another one in Telupid,” he said.

“We are also in talks with our counterparts from the neighbouring nations to determine the location for our sea checkpoint.

“All vessels entering Sabah’s east coast waters will have to go through inspection at the sea checkpoint.”

The 1,700km coastline in Sabah‘s east coast is a specially designated security area called the Eastern Sabah Security Zone or Esszone.


The Sulu and Celebes Seas off Sabah’s east coast used to be a hotspot for kidnappings and sea-jackings but efforts by Esscom have lowered these incidents.

Esscom has also tightened security to prevent possible trans border movement of militants during the five-month Marawi war in southern Philippines between government troops and pro-Islamic State groups.

During this operation Esscom shot dead an Abu Sayyaf group member during a chase in the waters off Silam. They identified the man, Abu Paliyak as belonging to an Abu Sayyaf group responsible for a spate of kidnappings-for-ransom and robberies in the east coast of Sabah.

More recently, Esscom and Tawau police killed three Filipinos believed to be linked to terrorism at an oil palm estate in Kalabakan, also in Sabah’s east coast.The team seized a Colt M4 assault rifle, a revolver and a samurai sword from the suspects on the 23rd February.

Esszone and Esscom were established in 2013 following an incursion in Lahad Datu by some 200 Sulu militants who wanted to stake their territorial claim on Sabah.

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