Wednesday March 6, 2013
Lights out by 6pm, families in Kg Tanjung Kapor stay quiet and fearful
SEMPORNA: For the past three nights, Norsiah Dahalan and her sisters have been moving about in the dark in their home at Kg Tanjung Kapor.
“We are afraid to switch on the lights as we don't know if there are gunmen wandering around our kampung, and we don't want to be seen,” she said at noon yesterday.
“We have a little light outside so that we can see if there are people milling about.”
Kg Tanjung Kapor is a water village with easy access to the sea and many use it freely to enter and leave Semporna.
Norsiah was relieved to hear news of the Sulu gunmen at Kg Tanduo being defeated by Malaysian security forces.
“However, we can't let our guard down because we don't know if the situation has been resolved once and for all, or whether it will flare up in other places.
“We're all still afraid. And I'm still going to switch my lights off for the next few days just in case,” she said. “We don't know if those still out there will take revenge.”
The school at Kg Tanjung Kapor has been closed since six policemen were killed in a shootout at the Simunul water village, about 9km from Norsiah's home on Saturday night.
The village is quiet in the evenings too as people are afraid to go out after nightfall.
Fisherman Juhanti Jailani, 58, hasn't been sleeping much.
“Even if I hear a slight noise, I wake up,” he said.
His family has dinner by 5pm these days because they, too, do not switch on the lights.
“Before this, I used to shut the door only at 9pm, but now I lock it by 6pm,” he said.
Juhanti has not gone out to sea for the past three days.
“We are scared the gunmen might kidnap us,” said the father of nine and grandfather of three, whose extended family stays with him.
He has been digging into his savings for their day-to-day expenses and fears the money will run out soon.
“We can't stock up much food at home because I have so many children and grandchildren.
“I am hoping the situation returns to normal so I can go back to fish,” he said.
His worries are compounded by the fact that many people use the village pathways and they do not know who they are.
“We don't know if they are bringing in arms, or if they are security personnel.”
His wife Musaniah Abd Sara, 45, said the villagers had recently started to ask people passing through who they were and where they were headed.
Seven-month pregnant Shima Sadiq and her husband have a shop in the village, but now close it at 6pm.
She goes to her relative's place, away from the water village, to sleep at night.
“I dare not sleep here now,” she said.
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