Published: Saturday March 2, 2013 MYT 6:54:00 PM
Updated: Sunday March 3, 2013 MYT 10:25:10 AM
PM: Gunmen used white flag to lure commandos and opened fire
PETALING JAYA: The armed intruders in Sabah had used a white flag as a ruse to open fire on Malaysian police commandos on Friday in Kampung Tanduo, 130km from Lahad Datu, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Saturday.
He said he learned this from one of the VAT 69 police commandos, and described it a cowardly act.
"The two slain commandos had seen the white flag and did not think that there would be other intruders waiting to open fire on them.
"I do not rule out the possibility that it was a trap by the intruders. If they had resorted to such a tactic, it was a act of cowards," he told reporters after paying his last respects to the two slain commandos - Insp Zulkifli Mamat, 29, and Cpl Sabarudin Daud, 46 - at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang near here.
The Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Hajah Haminah, was also at the base and spent some time with the families of Zulkifli and Sabarudin and handed over a personal donation to them.
The white flag is an internationally recognised protective sign of truce or ceasefire, and request for negotiation.
The Charlie 130 aircraft carrying the bodies of the two slain commandos flew in from Tawau at 12.30 pm.
Also present at the base were the prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor; Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar; Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Hamsa and several Cabinet ministers.
The bodies were taken by the respective families for burial in their villages.
Zulkifli's body was flown in an RMAF CN235 aircraft from Subang to the RMAF base in Gong Kedak, Kelantan, for burial in Kampung Kubang Ikan, Besut, Terengganu.
Zulkifli's widow, Noraziah Noor, and their two sons, aged four and one, accompanied the remains.
Sabarudin's body was taken to his village in Sungai Lias, Sungai Besar, Sabak Bernam, Selangor. His widow, Nurunisa Abu Bakar, and their three children, two sons and a daughter, accompanied the remains.
In LAHAD DATU, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar dismissed a foreign media report that 10 of the intruders surrendered to the security forces Friday.
The intruders had attempted to get out of Kampung Tanduo but stumbled upon the security forces and opened fire, triggering the shootout, he told reporters when he visited General Operations Force personnel at their base at Felda Sahabat 16.
ABS-CBN news online had on Friday quoted Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez as saying that he was informed by the Malaysian Ambassador in the Philippines Mohammad Zamri Mohammad Kassim that 10 intruders of the group had surrendered.
Ismail praised the Malaysian police for their determination to continue to strive to resolve the intrusion by about 150 members of the self-proclaimed royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu in the Philippines. - Bernama