KUALA LUMPUR: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) crippled 15 kidnap attempts at the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) since 2014, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Shahidan said the number included six kidnap attempts thwarted since January this year.
“Steps to beef up security and enforcement at holiday destinations, resorts, fishing activities and high risk routes had helped identify the dangers posed by terrorists from Southern Philippines, especially their ‘kidnap for ransom’ attempts in the area,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here today when answering Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan).
Lim had wanted to know the allocation for ESSCom and the number of terrorists detained by the agency since it was formed.
He also wanted to know the current status of four Malaysians, namely from Sarawak, who were kidnapped by a group of armed men, believed to be from Southern Philippines, from the waters of Ligitan, near Semporna, Sabah in April.
Shahidan said various initiatives and efforts were being carried out with the Philippines authorities to release the four victims who were kidnapped by eight armed men.
“Right now the four Malaysians are reported to be safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shahidan said since ESSCom was set up in 2013, RM146.9 million was allocated to manage and develop security aspects in the area.
He said during the period, four individuals who had links with Sulu terrorists were shot dead and 67 others detained for further investigations. -- Bernama