Australian citizens are being warned of the high risk of kidnapping by terrorists near popular Malaysian dive sites. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel warning alerting saying tourists. And saying they should avoid parts of the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia’s state on the island of Borneo.
“We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Malaysia because of the risk of terrorist attack.,” the DFAT warning said.
“We strongly advise you not to travel to coastal resorts and other centres on and islands and dive sites off the east coast of Sabah because of the high threat of kidnapping by terrorists.”
“Terrorists have, in the past, kidnapped foreigners from the eastern coast of mainland Sabah, and from the islands and sea off its east coast. If you are in these areas you should consider leaving. We cannot rule out the possibility of kidnappings from other coastal areas of Sabah, including urban centres, and islands off the coast.”
“If you are intending to travel overland from Malaysia to Thailand you should be aware of the travel advice for Thailand which recommends that travellers reconsider their need to travel at this time to the far southern Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla, including overland travel from and to the Malaysian border through these provinces. “
In April 2000 hostages were taken from the island of Sipadan, off the eastern coast of Sabah, which is a popular dive site. This area borders waters belonging to both Indonesia and the Philippines.
Further kidnappings took place in September 2000 from Pandanan Island, in October 2003 near Lahad Datu on the eastern Sabah mainland, in April 2004 at sea off Sabah’s east coast and in March 2005 near Mataking Island.