Tuesday March 19, 2013
Lahad Datu: Two shootouts occur during security forces’ check for gunmen
LAHAD DATU: Skirmishes broke out for the second day between Sulu gunmen and security forces amid the mopping up operations at Kampung Tanjung Batu.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Talib said they could not immediately ascertain if there were any casualties among the estimated 50 remaining gunmen though there were no injuries reported among the security forces.
He said the shootouts occurred at 9.05am and 10.45am as security forces were checking the coastal village for gunmen.
“Our men are still clearing the Kampung Tanjung Batu area and hopefully it will be completed soon,” he said yesterday as 17 more armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were seen entering the Felda Sahabat area here.
When asked if family members of the self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were among the more than 100 people arrested in connection with the intrusion, Hamza said “that’s the least of my concerns”.
“What’s important is to charge them (in court) instead of asking if they are related to Jamalul Kiram,” he said, adding that the media would be informed when the terrorists were charged.
On reports quoting Jamalul Kiram in Manila as saying that he had ordered his gunmen to stay put and engage in guerilla warfare against security forces, Hamza said: ”I have never believed what Kiram or his people have been saying and if they continue to fight us, they shall face the consequences.”
In SANDAKAN, district police chief Assistant Commissioner Rowel Marong confirmed the arrest of three men under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act in connection with the intrusion.
The men were arrested at Kampung Sim-Sim at 3pm yesterday.
Meanwhile, two pregnant women, 20 children and 13 other adults lived on palm oil fruit and water from nearby rivers for four days after security forces began their offensive against Sulu gunmen more than two weeks ago.
They got lost in the plantation while looking for a way out of Kampung Tanjung Batu and their nightmare ended when an estate supervisor found them.