Tuesday March 5, 2013
Heavy weapons roll in to combat Sulu gunmen
FELDA SAHABAT (Lahad Datu): Poised to attack anytime, security forces have begun to roll heavy equipment into a remote corner of the vast Felda Sahabat plantation, where the members of self-proclaimed Royal Sulu Sultanate Army have been in a standoff with Malaysian troops for three weeks.
Six armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were seen being ferried on transporter trucks in the Cendawasih township on the way to the remote seaside settlement of Kampung Tanduo, some 160km from here, at about 1pm yesterday.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the use of the military’s armoured vehicles and other assets reflected the close collaboration between the two uniformed services to combat crime.
Ismail said he had called Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin for both armed services to collaborate through the use of some logistics, like vehicles.
He said military personnel were also deployed to beef up the police force in the hunt for a group of intruders spotted at two villagers in Kunak district two days ago.
“We are working with the Armed Forces to protect Sabah,” Ismail said, adding that police and military officers were finalising their tactical plans to resolve the three-week-old standoff at Kampung Tanduo.
“We have to move in a well-planned way,” said Ismail at a joint press conference with Jen Zulkifeli.
He said police were also working with other government agencies in sharing information to deal with the Kampung Tanduo standoff.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said five more battalions – in addition to the two announced earlier – had been sent to Sabah.
Of the seven battalions, one each were sent to Sandakan and Tawau, while five were deployed to Lahad Datu.
“Their presence is to boost public confidence,” Jen Zulkifeli said, adding that there had been much talk about threats to Sabah‘s security over the past several days.