Published: Saturday March 9, 2013 MYT 6:17:00 PM
Updated: Saturday March 9, 2013 MYT 7:41:16 PM
Lahad Datu: Three boats carrying 27 people intercepted off Tg Batu coast
By RUBEN SARIO and SIRA HABUBU
LAHAD DATU: Malaysian security forces Saturday intercepted three boats carrying 27 people off the Tanjung Batu coast as the ongoing offensive against the armed Sulu group entered its fifth day at two remote villages some 160km from here.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Ismail Omar said the 27 were detained at about 2.10pm as they were approaching the Kampung Tanjung Batu coast line.
"They claimed to be fishermen but we are wondering what they were doing within the operational area," he said at a joint a media briefing with Armed Forces chief Jeneral Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.
He said the detained men, who were unarmed, had been sent to the Lahad Datu district police headquarters for further investigations.
Excluding the latest arrests, security forces have so far detained 79 people since the offensive against the armed Sulu group began on March 5.
On the joint offensive with the armed forces, Ismail said they had made inroads into new areas and believed the intruders were nearby.
He said they had yet to ascertain the number of deaths in the operation held over the past two days as the area has yet to be secured for the forensic team to enter.
"The forensic team should be able to carry out full investigations after the mopping up exercise is completed tomorrow (Sunday)," he said, adding that the team was now only taking photographs of the dead from a safe distance.
Meanwhile, Jen Zulkifeli said they were now focusing on a mass-scale sweep operation between Kampung Tanduo and Tanjung Batu stretching for five kilometres.
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