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Sabah security forces to launch sea, road checkpoints against militants

 | November 20, 2017

The security system aims to stop the smuggling of firearms and other transborder criminal elements into the state.

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Eastern Security Command (EssCom) will implement sea and road checkpoints to strengthen efforts against militant threats in the state’s east coast which shares a sea border with insurgency-plagued southern Philippines.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman said the focus of the planned sea checkpoints was to stop the smuggling of firearms and other transborder criminal elements into the state.

“For this purpose, EssCom is drawing up a ‘designated route’ involving maritime agencies to be submitted to the Attorney-General for gazetting,” he said while answering questions at the Sabah state assembly here today.

“EssCom is also planning to implement road checkpoints. Apart from addressing security threats, they will also help detect and detain illegal immigrants involved in militancy.”

Musa, who is also chairman of the State Security Committee, said the authorities were carrying out coordinated sea and air patrols with their Philippine and Indonesian counterparts under a tripartite pact.

Tamparuli assemblyman Wilfred Bumburing (Parti Cinta Sabah) asked about homegrown extremists who had gone to southern Philippines to fight in insurgencies there.

Responding to this, Musa said EssCom was constantly monitoring the security situation both on land and at sea.

“We will have the sea and road checkpoints while sharing intelligence with our Philippine and Indonesian counterparts,” he said.

Two pro-Islamic State Sabahans, Mohd Amin Baco and Jeknal Adil, were reportedly killed in clashes with government troops in the southern Philippine city of Marawi but their bodies have yet to be found.

Amin was a member of the outlawed extremist group Darul Islam Sabah.

He and Jeknal have been identified in reports as being bomb makers for the militants.

Amin and Jeknal in 2010 left Malaysia to join the Abu Sayyaf terror group, which pledged allegiance to the IS in 2014.

FMT in October broke the story of a Sabahan teenage boy who was seen by hostages fighting alongside his militant father in the Marawi war.

Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun later confirmed to FMT the militant had come back from southern Philippines to pick up his son from his family home in Tawau in 2015.

Fuzi lamented that family members and local leaders failed to alert the authorities about the boy missing from home.

Sabah has been reported to be a criminal gateway to and from southern Philippines which has been battling insurgencies for decades.

In June, security officers nabbed three men in Sandakan trying to join Islamic State groups in Marawi while, in August, police announced the arrest of IS cell members and a group of men related to the Abu Sayyaf group.

The Abu Sayyaf-related men, some of whom were working as security guards, were believed to have gone to Kuala Lumpur via Sandakan and Labuan from southern Philippines using fake documents.

More details emerge on Malaysian militant, son in Marawi

Is Sabahan Amin Baco new IS regional emir?


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