Malaysiakini News

Esszone under control, no kidnappings this year

Published:  |  Modified:

The Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) is under control and there have been no kidnappings in the area this year, a drop from 16 the previous year, according to the Prime Minister's Department.

The department said that security forces are currently employing intensive patrolling along Esszone and engaging in coordinated patrolling with their Filipino and Indonesian counterparts.

Security forces are also intensifying the monitoring of points used by those entering the country illegally, including ports and airports.

The Prime Minister's Department said this in a parliamentary written reply to Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz (PAS-Pasir Mas), who sought an update on the security situation in the Esszone.

The Esszone was established in March 2013, which spans from the northern tip of Sabah to Tawau, which borders Indonesia.

The special security zone was a response to the incursion of armed militants from the Philippines that year.

New military bases were established, and a significant amount of military assets were stationed in the area.

Sabah's East Coast has long been plagued by kidnappers from Southern Philippines who use ransoms to fund separatist insurgencies.

Their targets are often foreign tourists.

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