Published: Friday March 1, 2013 MYT 6:10:00 PM
Updated: Friday March 1, 2013 MYT 11:57:04 PM
Lahad Datu: PM confirms two commandos killed; regrets bloodshed
BY MAZWIN NIK ANIS, SIMON KHOO and MUGUNTAN VANAR
PEKAN: The Prime Minister has confirmed that two police personnel were killed and three others injured during the clash between Malaysian armed forces and Sulu gunmen in Tanduo village near Lahad Datu, Sabah.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the armed Philippino group had ventured 1.5km from their holed up area and opened fire at the Malaysian security forces.
"I am very sad over the incident because what we had wanted to prevent, which is bloodshed, had actually happened.
"Now there is no grace period for the group to leave.
“I have given the full mandate to the ground commanders, namely the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar and the Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Zulkefli Mohd Zin to take necessary action deemed necessary," he said.
Meanwhile, in Lahad Datu, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib told reporters that 12 Sulu gunmen were killed in the clash between Malaysian General Operations Force members and the gunmen.
The number of injured among the Sulu group is unknown.
At a 6pm press conference, Hamza said the skirmish began at 9.59am Friday and last ed 30 minutes after five elite GOF members moved to tighten the cordon around Tanduo village where the Sulu group of about 180 including 30 gunmen led by Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram had been holed up since Feb 9.
``Our men stumbled upon several of the intruders who fired at them, forcing our police to return fire,'' he said, adding that security forces are now holding their ground around the radius of 10sq km.
He said police recovered some of the weapons of the Sulu group.