Asia Malaysia downplays Indonesian alert on Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sabah

Malaysia downplays Indonesian alert on Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sabah

CNN Indonesia says Malaysia's ESSCOM is on alert after the Indonesians issued a statement on Abu Sayyaf movement in Sabah

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The East Sabah Security Command of Malaysia (ESSCom) today downplayed an alert issued by the Indonesian consulate-general in Malaysia of the presence of Abu Sayyaf elements in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

However, CNN Indonesia says Malaysia is on the alert and tightening security in the east coast of Sabah.

According to CNN Indonesia, the Indonesian alert says a group of Abu Sayyaf militants are on its way to the east coast of Sabah to look for kidnap target.

It also says the East Sabah Security Command of Malaysia (ESSCom) intensified security on the east coast of Sabah following an investigation about the alert on the presence of Abu Sayyaf elements in the Malaysian state.

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But Esscom today downplayed the warning by the Indonesian consulate-general in Malaysia. The Indonesian consulate-general advised its citizens to be wary of possible attacks by Abu Sayyaf cells off Sabah’s east coast.

The Malaysian authorities says it did not detect any such movement.

The Indonesian Consul General Muhammad Muhsinin Dollsala issued a statement saying three armed groups from the southern Philippines were moving towards Malaysian waters.

ESSCom commander Hazani Ghazali said the info was inaccurate but will keep watch even though there are no reports of movement or threats, says Free Malaysia Today.

Pictures circulating on various social media groups may have triggered the alert from the Indonesian consulate but sources say the pictures are believed to be a snapshot of Indonesians working as fishermen and seafarers in Sabah waters.

The rumours say Abu Sayyaf movements were detected in the waters in the Sandakan, Bakungan, Idol, Tambisan and Taganak areas.

But the Abu Sayyaf rebels are always on the lookout for opportunities to rob or abduct for ransom, to support their terrorist activities.

They usually target tourists on the north coast of Sabah but lately, they targeted fishermen, barges, and tankers. Authorities say this is because of tight security in tourist hotspots.

The Abu Sayyaf is a group of rebels from the Philippines. -/TISG

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