KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 ― The US State Department has issued an advisory warning American travellers of heightened abduction risks in parts of Malaysia and 34 other nations.
According to Russian-based news portal Sputnik yesterday, the department raised on Tuesday the advisory level for the 35 countries to include a “K” indicator for the “risk of kidnapping and/or hostage taking”.
Aside from Malaysia, other countries affected include Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Philippines.
The Malaysia travel advisory page on the US State Department webpage urged US visitors to take precautionary measures in Sabah’s east coast where it said has an increased risk of kidnappings.
“There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom from both terrorist and criminal groups (in east Sabah).
“These groups may attack with little to no warning, targeting coastal resorts, island resorts, and boats ferrying tourists to resort islands,” the website said.
The department also cautioned US citizens that its ability to respond in such areas was limited as its officials must obtain special authorisation to travel there.