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Sulu intruder killed in gunfire

 | March 6, 2013

Meanwhile Jacel Kiram claimed on national television in the Philippines that her uncle was holding four Malaysians hostage.

FULL REPORT

PETALING JAYA: An armed intruder was killed this morning in Lahad Datu during the security forces’ offensive against the armed Sulu terrorists in Kampung Tanduo, Sabah.

lnspector-General of Police Ismail Omar announced today the gunman was killed in gunfire at around 6.45 this morning.

“At 6.45am, our security forces were fired upon and they were forced to return fire. I understand that one enemy was shot. We believe he was killed,” he said, adding that the body could not be retrieved due to safety reasons.

He added security forces were still conducting the “mopping-up and search” operation on the armed group of Filipinos who killed eight Malaysian policemen over the weekend.

“There is a possibility the mopping-up and search operation will be extended from the initial area as there are signs that the intruders have moved to another area,” Ismail said.

He assured the police and military are monitoring the armed intruders’ movement and will respond appropriately to the current situation.

“At the moment, our security forces have extended the operation to cover more than the initial 4sq km as mentioned yesterday,” he said.

“We urge the public not to panic because our security forces are still controlling the situation. The public and media personnels are reminded to stay away from the operation area,” he added.

While reaffirming that there had been no casualties or injuries among the police and armed forces who conducted the joint operations, he remained tight-lipped on any casualties suffered by the intruders in the attack yesterday.

House-to-house searches

Meanwhile, the security forces are conducting house to house searches today after authorities indicated the militants had escaped into surrounding farmland in the massive Felda plantations.

Residents there are on the edge over reports of roaming gunmen.

“Follow-up action and house-to-house searches are being carried out carefully to ensure the safety of the policemen and soldiers,” state news agency Bernama quoted police as saying.

AFP meanwhile reported a leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which waged an insurgency against the Philippine government until 1996, as saying that hardened fighters from his Muslim group had arrived in Sabah to support the militants.

“Many have slipped through the security forces,” Muhajab Hashim told AFP in Manila.

“They know the area like the back of their hands because they trained there in the past,” he said, referring to long-standing allegations that Malaysia helped trained MNLF leaders in their insurgency against the Philippines.

“We are expecting more of them to join (the battle) even if our official instruction is for them to refrain from going,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

Police chief Ismail said late yesterday after the assault that no militants had yet been found dead or captured. He did not explain how they could have escaped a cordon in place for the past three weeks.

“I have instructed my commanders to be on alert because we believe the enemies are still out there,” Ismail told reporters.

“We of course hope that they have not escaped.”

Other unconfirmed reports say that bodies had been found. There have also been reports that hostages have been taken

Malaysian hostages?

Meanwhile, reports in the Philippines media have also stated that rebel leader Agbimuddin Kiram and his band of militants had survived aerial assault and “mop-up” operations.

Jacel Kiram, the daughter of the self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram lll claimed this morning on national television in the Philippines that her uncle was holding four Malaysians hostage.

She said he was willing to release the four but only in front of the international media and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Committee to prove they were unharmed.

“Raja Muda is still safe, willing to release captives but in front of Red Cross and int’l media to show they were safely released,” ABS-CBN News Channel said in a Twitter posting on its interview with Jacel.

Yesterday, Malaysian forces launched their assault on the armed intruders at about 7am. The operation was code-named “Ops Daulat”.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had confirmed none of the security forces’ personnel were injured in the offensive.

Also read:

Ops Sulu a success, Sulu casualities unknown

Hisham: No security forces suffered casualties


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