No Sulu reinforcements in KK, Tawau, says IGP
UPDATED @ 01:21:03 PM 08-03-2013
LAHAD DATU, March 8 — No Sulu reinforcements have arrived in Kota Kinabalu or Tawau to back their fellow militants in reclaiming Sabah, the authorities said today.
No new casualties or arrests have been reported here either, Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said at a joint press conference with Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar today.
“There has been news going around through SMS and social media that the militants will enter Kota Kinabalu and Tawau,” said Ismail.
“This news is not issued by the police and is not accurate,” he added.
A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) activist reportedly said last Tuesday that thousands of Suluks have sailed to Sabah to help their fellow southern Filipino gunmen.
Ismail also said today that the security forces have yet to capture militant group leader Agbimuddin Kiram since some 200 Sulu militants invaded Kampung Tanduo here about a month ago.
Zulkifeli also said the fighter jets seen flying this morning were part of operations, but declined to confirm if more airstrikes would be launched.
Ismail said that the security forces were closing in on Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu, covering areas of four and five square kilometres respectively.
“Since yesterday evening till now, our forces are moving forward to certain places. It is going well,” said Ismail.
Authorities said yesterday that 52 Sulu militants have been killed since the clashes began last Friday.
Eight Malaysian policemen were killed here and in Semporna, leading to a death toll of 60.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib told reporters separately today that the victim in a viral video allegedly showing the beheading of a policeman by Sulu militants, was not a policeman.
He also said that 79 people have been arrested in Sabah to date in connection to the Sulu conflict.
Semporna police chief Deputy Superintendent Firdaus Abdullah, however, was reported by the New Straits Times yesterday as saying that the four men arrested in Semporna were not linked to the Sulu militants.
Several F-18 and Hawk aircraft bombed Kampung Tanduo last Tuesday in an attempt to flush out the militants, an operation that Zulkifeli said was not meant to kill, but to enable the security forces to move in without resistance.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that the security forces would continue hunting down the Sulu militants until they surrendered or were eliminated.
He added that five additional battalions of soldiers and policemen would be deployed to guard the east coast of Sabah from Kudat to Tawau.