LAHAD DATU (Bernama) – The East Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) has denied rumours that a group of terrorists from Southern Philippines had landed in Sandakan and that there was a shootout in Semporna.
Its commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said the rumours, which were widespread on social media sites, including Facebook, were not true and urged the public to not panic.
“I urge the public to remain calm because the security in the East Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone), specifically in Sandakan and Semporna, is under control.
“The rumours are absolutely untrue,” he said in a statement yesterday when commenting on rumours that a group of terrorists from Southern Philippines had landed in Kampung Luboh, 12th Mile, Sungai Manila, Sandakan on Dec 25, and the latest, a shootout in Semporna, yesterday.
In this regard, he urged the public to contact the nearest police station or ESSCom operations room to obtain valid information.
Abdul Rashid said the Operations Room in Lahad Datu operates 24 hours and members of the public who need to channel information, lodge complaints or make enquiries could contact 089-863181 or fax 089-863182.
He stressed that firm action would be taken against those who disseminated rumours which could affect public peace and cause panic.
Meanwhile, Sabah deputy police commissioner Datuk Abdul Malek Harun said police would investigate the culprit responsible for leaking confidential police information to the public, including on social sites.
According to Abdul Malik, if such news was spread deliberately by people inside (the department), police would take disciplinary, or legal action under the Official Secrets Act.
“Police will investigate any information received to confirm its validity, including rumours over the alleged incidents in Sandakan and Semporna.
Nevertheless, our procedure is to alert all related police stations to prepare for any possibilities,” he added.