Published on: Thursday, March 14, 2013
FELDA SAHABAT (Lahad Datu): The police and Armed Forces have increased their manpower as well as capacity to fight the intruders and to increase the people's confidence in handling the month-long standoff.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar in a joint press conference with Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin at Felda Residence Sahabat, said more policemen would be absorbed to the nearby areas of operation.
"They will be placed in the offshore areas and between Lahad Datu and Felda to ensure the people's safety.
"They will be also be placed on routes or places used by the intruders," he said. Ismail said the additional manpower would be drawn from the Criminal Investigations Department, Narcotic, logistic, etc, and increased in stages.
Zulkifeli said another dozen armored personnel carriers as well as Agusta 109 LOH helicopters are expected.
"Apart from increasing the level of confidence, it also aims to show to show that we have the ability as well assets to fight the intruders," said Zulkifli.
Meanwhile, the death toll involving the militant group calling themselves the Sulu Royal Army rose to 58 on the ninth day of Ops Daulat.
Another two bodies were found during a mopping up operation at Sg Nyamuk around 7.15am, Wednesday.
"We found a pistol and a 'Garan' (an old firearm) believed used in the shootout that killed one of our soldiers. We have also expanded the mopping up operation and moving to near Kg Tanjung Batu.
"So far, Kg Tanduo has been clean up and we still conducting mopping up in the areas between Kg Tanduo and Kg Tanjung Batu, Sungai Nyamuk," Gen. Sulkifeli said, adding that the mopping up is expected to finish by Thursday.
Zulkifeli said the security forces would ensure that the enemies could not return to these areas.
The leader of the armed group who intruded into Lahad Datu, Azzimudie Kiram, is still trapped in Kampung Tanjung.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib is certain that Azzimudie had never left the area.
"As the leader, he would not run away. We believe he is still with the group," he said.
After nine days of 'Ops Daulat', the security forces had shot dead 56 enemies and 25 of the remains of the militant intruders had been taken out of the red zone.
Hamza said 156 people were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and read together with Section 130© of the Penal Code for being in the red zone of the operations area while 97 individuals were detained for investigation as they were suspected to be involved with the terrorists.
To date, 10 members of the security forces had been killed comprising eight police personnel and two soldiers.
One of the soldiers was killed in a road accident at Km 37 Lahad Datu-Kampung Tungku Road.
On when the residents of Kampung Tanduo could return to their homes, he said it had not been decided yet.
"There are only 10 houses there. Many aspects had to be considered including whether the land they are staying on belonged to them and the status of their citizenship."