Published on: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Lahad Datu: A 48-year-old who claimed to be among those involved in the negotiations between the intruders and Malaysian security forces said the negotiations went peacefully.
Ben Hamid said the group members spoke English and Suluk and carried a flag which had a tiger emblem. "The group members wore black and white army fatigues and were carrying weapons.
"There were also five women in the group but they were not in army uniforms," said the farmer from Kg Tanduo, adding that the group was camping in the plantation area.
He said people in the village were concerned upon hearing that there were armed intruders from the Philippines. However, they were relieved when he chanced upon the group who told him that they came in peace and intended to finalise an agreement.
Ben, when met at Kg Tanjung Labian, said he was informed about the intrusion at about 2am on Tuesday by his sister and decided to leave the village with 30 of his family members as a precaution.
"About 8.30am, we left our house through the plantation for Kg Tanjung Labian. Other villagers were also leaving their homes in stages.
There are some who could not leave because of health problems.
"While leaving our house, we met the group who told us it was not necessary for us to leave as they were good and meant no harm.
They said they came in peace (just) to demand some things," said Ben.
He said he managed to visit his house when he was brought in to negotiate with group and found it undisturbed.