Tuesday March 12, 2013
Lahad Datu: Nervous fishermen going back to sea again
KUNAK: Fishermen Nordin Salleh and Haidar Rahman were nervous as they ventured out to sea again after a two-week hiatus.
“I was afraid there would be shooting at sea if the police come across the armed intruders in boats trying to come in or escape and we'd be caught in the middle of it.
“I don't fancy being shot by the police or the gunmen. I just want to fish because I have mouths to feed,” said Nordin.
Haidar fears a hostage situation.
“I am afraid the armed men might seize our boat, kidnap us at gunpoint and keep us captive until our taukeh pays a ransom to get back his boat.
“I am sure he'd pay for the boat but I'm not sure if he'd pay for us,” he said when met on Saturday as he prepared the boat for another overnight fishing trip.
Marine police and security forces have been keeping close watch at sea for the Sulu armed intruders who arrived in boats and held Kg Tanduo under siege for three weeks.
The armed forces and police carried out a massive exercise on Tuesday to end the siege, flushed out the gunmen and reclaimed Kg Tanduo.
Both Kg Tanduo and Semporna, which is 275km away, are near the sea and boats are the main way the Suluk from southern Philippines come in and out of Sabah.
Nordin and Haidar said their employer gave them supplies of rice, coffee, sugar and cigarettes and some money in the two weeks that they could not go out to sea due to the dangerous situation. Normally, they would earn about RM600 each.
Haidar said they fished about 60km offshore on Friday.
“We are not going too far and we are staying away from the Kg Tanduo area even though we normally fish there,” he said.
Ernisah Mohd Tahir, who sells fish at the Kunak market, said many of the big boats were still not going out but the ones that did so came back with more fish that usual.
She said fish prices had gone up a little “but people are still buying because there is not much supply”.