LAHAD DATU: The East Coast of Sabah Special Security Command (ESSCOM) has successfully apprehended five individuals suspected of involvement in militant activities.
According to ESSCOM Commander Datuk Victor Sanjos, these arrests were made as a result of operations conducted over the past year.
“All the suspects are currently being held in accordance with Malaysian law for further action,” he told reporters here on Wednesday.
Victor further stated that, based on research conducted by the Bukit Aman Special Branch, there are a total of 13 individuals who are wanted and believed to be connected to militant activities and cross-border crimes.
ESSCOM maintains constant surveillance on the threats and activities of individuals entering the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) area.
Since its establishment, ESSCOM has effectively curtailed the movements of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Kidnapping for Hostages Group (KFRG) in Sabah through a series of integrated operations.
This success has been achieved through the sharing of intelligence information with authorities in the Philippines and Indonesia, he said.
According to Victor, a total of 20 ASG members have been neutralized since 2015, with 17 ASG or KFRG members being apprehended.
Additionally, between 2014 and 2018, 12 attempted kidnappings, seizures, and robberies were successfully thwarted.
However, there have been 21 kidnapping cases involving 58 victims, including Malaysians and foreigners from Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Taiwan, recorded in the ESS Zone.
The most recent kidnapping occurred on January 14, 2020.
Out of the total number of kidnappings, 43 hostages have been released after ransom payments, while eight have been rescued by Philippine authorities. Unfortunately, six hostages were found deceased, and one remains missing.
Nevertheless, the ESS Zone has remained relatively stable without any abduction incidents from February 2020 to December 2023.
— Source Harian Metro