Saturday, November 19, 2016

Esscom tight-lipped on kidnapping claims off Lahad Datu

From the New Straits Times Online (Nov 19): Esscom tight-lipped on kidnapping claims off Lahad Datu 

The authorities have remained tightlipped over claims that a kidnapping may have taken place in Tambisan waters off Lahad Datu.

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) have so far declined to comment on the details of the supposed incident.

While Esscom has remained mum, it is understood that Sabah police commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun has yet to receive information on the case.

Rashid is however scheduled to give a press conference during his working visit to Lahad Datu tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.

Sabah, in particular its east coast, have been reeling from a series of kidnap incidents. The last kidnapping took place in Kinabatangan waters on Nov 5, where gunmen abducted an Indonesian fisherman from a fishing boat.

As the group fled towards international waters, they abducted another Indonesian fisherman from another boat.

On July 18, five Malaysians were abducted in Lahad Datu waters. They are currently being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group in the southern Philippines.

The issue of kidnappings at sea has become an area of concern for not only Malaysia, but also Indonesia and the Philippines. Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Nov 10, had pldeged that his administration will give permission for Malaysian and Indonesian authorities to pursue kidnappers who enter Philippine waters.

The standard operating procedure on the agreement is expected to be ironed out by the foreign ministers of the three countries when they meet in Vientiane, Laos on Nov 22.

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