KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 – One Malaysian soldier and three Sulu gunmen were killed in a gun battle at Sungai Nyamuk near Kampung Tanjung Batu in Sabah’s restive east coast today, Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Gen Zulkifeli Mohd Zin confirmed.
The three Sulus were in a group of five that were spotted at 7.45am by security forces cleaning up the area after last week’s bombardment to flush out the Filipino militants that intruded into Malaysia.
The soldier has been identified as Private Mohd Hurairah from Kelantan who had been stationed at Camp Kukusan Tawau in Sabah.
The first firefight between Malaysian forces and the Sulu gang started on March 1 and resulted in the death of 20 Sulu militants and eight Malaysians.
The Kiram clan, who claim to be heirs to the Sulu sultanate that own Sabah, has labelled the clash as the “March 1 massacre”.
Reeling from the loss of Malaysian lives, Putrajaya launched Ops Daulat last Tuesday to flush out the rest of the Sulu invaders, sending in battalions of troops and launching an airstrike on the militants led by Filipino rebel, Agbimuddin Kiram.
As of yesterday afternoon, the Sulu incursion in Sabah has resulted in the deaths of 63 people, including 54 Filipino militants, eight Malaysian policemen and one teenage boy, whose nationality is still unknown.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said nine of the bodies were found in a grave at Kampung Tanduo, near Lahad Datu, and that based on fresh information it was believed that there could be other graves in the area, state news agency Bernama had reported earlier today.
Speaking at a news conference here at 10am, he said the police would not remove the bodies as they had decomposed.
He also said that security forces recovered a body in Kampung Tanjung Batu yesterday, raising to 23 the number of bodies recovered so far.
Hamza also confirmed that one of the 23 bodies was that of a general, identified only as Musa, who was killed in a clash in Kampung Tanjung Batu.
Hamza said there had been no clashes between the security forces and the Sulu terrorists over the past 24 hours up to 10am today.
The security forces launched the “Ops Daulat” offensive on March 5 after Sulu terrorists killed eight policemen in Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Simunul, Semporna, on March 1 and 2.
Five policemen were also injured in the two attacks.
The terrorists had holed up in Kampung Tanduo since February 12 and had not responded to government overtures for them to lay down arms and surrender unconditionally.
Hamza said the “Ops Daulat” offensive, which entered its eighth day today, was focused on Kampung Tanjung Labian and Kampung Tanjung Batu.
My heart felt condolence to the family of private Mohd Hurairah..
Another unjustified death of a hero due to
1. Project IC
2. Poor intel and loose border control
3. Took too long to dissolve the terrorist intrusion
While our so called leaders are still politicking and pointing fingers blaming everyone else except themselves, 9 of our police officers and soldier are already dead.