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Elite airborne unit now permanent element in EssZone

 | November 23, 2017

The 10th Paratroopers Brigade, based in Terendak army camp in Melaka, now has a full-time presence in the Sabah east coast to tackle security threats.

The 10th Paratroopers Brigade conducting a mass drop exercise in Kota Belud, Sabah (Photos courtesy of 10 Para).

The 10th Paratroopers Brigade conducting a mass drop exercise in Kota Belud, Sabah (Photos courtesy of 10 Para).

KOTA BELUD: An elite airborne unit is now a permanent rapid deployment element in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (EssZone) to handle any security threat such as the deadly 2013 intrusion by Sulu militants in Lahad Datu.

The 10th Paratrooper Brigade, commonly known as 10 Para, based in the Terendak army camp in Melaka, was dispatched to Tanduo to help in the armed conflict.

“As a rapid deployment force, we now always have quite a big presence in the east coast of Sabah to ensure its security,” the brigade’s chief Brig Gen Tengku Muhammad Fauzi Tengku Ibrahim told reporters here today.

“Members of our brigade are always in the EssZone where we share posts with other security formations. If there’s any emergency, we’ll be the first to be deployed.

“If there’s an attack on a strategic interest, as first responders, we can infiltrate the area through a number of ways – airborne, heliborne or even from the sea.

“We are always active in the east coast of Sabah under the umbrella of the Joint Duties Forces based in Tawau and also EssCom (Eastern Sabah Security Command).”

The elite brigade, according to Fauzi, is ready for urban warfare such as the siege on the southern Philippine city of Marawi by pro-Islamic State groups which ended last month.

The Philippine military, which was mostly trained in conventional warfare, was reportedly unprepared for urban combat and had to improvise before it could retake the city after five months of fighting.

Strategically-placed snipers and the placement of improvised explosive devices were some of the factors that stopped or hindered the advance of security forces in Marawi.

According to reports, the Philippine airforce and army had not held joint training in urban warfare, which was said to have contributed to the friendly air fire on ground troops in Marawi.

Military officials said the militants, who numbered about 1,000, brought in a new style of urban warfare that initially flummoxed the Filipino troops.

“These terrorists are using combat tactics that we’ve seen in the Middle East,” US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris told a security forum in Singapore last month.

The Malaysian air force this week said urban warfare like that in Marawi was something new which would be introduced into its fighting doctrine from next year.

“Part of our training modules involve fighting in a built-up area, so our troopers are trained in urban combat,” said Fauzi.

“We can be dropped, regroup and carry out our task as a team. Special forces like the commandos are a small unit, but we are also exposed to special forces tactics.

“We can conduct our mission as a big conventional force and also carry out a small special operation.

“We’ve been trained in urban warfare for so long. At the Terendak camp, we have an ‘obar’ or operation in built-up areas or ‘kill-house’ where we train in making room-to-room clearance.”

Earlier, Fauzi witnessed a mass paratrooper airdrop exercise from a height of 1,000 feet involving 200 personnel from 10 Para, three C130 transport planes and two F/A-18D fighter jets.

“We will have more mass paratrooper drop exercises today and tomorrow here in Kota Belud,” he said.

“In these exercises, we train to parachute into an area to secure places with strategic and tactical interests.”

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