Issued by US Department of State
Jul 08, 2002
This Public Announcement is being issued to reflect continuing concern about the possible heightened risks to American citizens and American interests in Malaysia, especially in the state of Sabah, from attacks by the Abu Sayyaf Group. This extends the Public Announcement for Malaysia issued on December 5, 2001, and it expires on September 22, 2002.
The Department reiterates its concern about attacks by members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the southern Philippines near the Malaysian State of Sabah. The ASG remains a security threat to areas in Sabah close to the southern Philippines.
On May 27, 2001, members of the Abu Sayyaf Group kidnapped 20 people, including three American citizens, from a resort on the Philippine island of Palawan and took them by boat to Basilan Island in the southern Philippines. Since April 2000, the ASG has taken a number of people hostage including foreign tourists on the islands of Sipadan and Pandanan. The Department's current Public Announcement for the Philippines indicates there is a concern that the ASG may attack U.S. citizens and others again. The group is under attack by the armed forces of the Philippines at this time.
Malaysian police and military personnel are deployed and patrol the eastern coastal region and islands of Sabah. The Malaysian Government has also placed small detachments in various locations, including the Malaysian islands of Sipadan and Pandanan, where armed gunmen kidnapped hostages on April 23 and September 11, 2000, subsequently transporting them to the islands of the southern Philippines. However, the region is remote and large in area, and assistance in security matters may not be readily available.
U.S. citizens traveling to the islands and in the coastal areas of eastern Sabah should be aware of the persistence of threats from the Abu Sayyaf Group based in the southern Philippines, and should exercise extreme caution if they travel to that region.
U.S. citizens traveling to the islands or in the coastal region of eastern Sabah in Malaysia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. As the U.S. Embassy is quite distant from this region, U.S. citizens may wish to contact the Embassy by telephone at (6-03) 2168-5000, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Americans should closely monitor the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov. For further general information on travel to Malaysia, please consult the Department's latest Consular Information sheet at this site. Travelers to the Malaysian State of Sabah should also consult the current Public Announcement on the Philippines.