RAID ON HIDEOUT: Terror group leader hiding in Kampung Pinggir Bakau
WHILE the offensive against the terrorists raged in Felda Sahabat, significant success was achieved by the Malaysian security forces some 240km away in Semporna when they nabbed four men believed to be involved in the killing of six policemen in Simunul on March 2.
That success would have been more significant if the leader of the terrorist group, Agbimuddin Kiram, was also nabbed in the operation but it was learnt that he slipped through the dragnet when police moved into their hideout in Kampung Pinggir Bakau yesterday morning.
In fact, the raiding party went in after intelligence revealed that Agbimuddin, the brother of self-proclaimed sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III, was hiding out there.
Apart from the four men, security personnel also picked up 29 others, said to be sympathisers of the terrorist group.
Earlier yesterday, Jamalul earned the ire of Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when reports out of Manila quoted him as saying that the armed intrusion was a jihad (holy war) against Malaysia.
Zahid was scathing in his response.
"What is the meaning of jihad if the terrorists who were shot dead by our security forces were dumped by their comrades in shallow graves, covered only with planks and oil palm fronds?"
Zahid also labelled them "inhumane" for mutilating the bodies of security personnel.
"There is no compromise, such as sending them back to their country. We will ensure that no terrorist escapes our dragnet. We want them dead or arrested".
As Ops Daulat entered its sixth day yesterday, two more General Operations Force personnel were wounded following skirmishes in the "red zone" in Felda Sahabat. The two are recuperating at a hospital in Sandakan.
A teenager was also killed in the area in one of the skirmishes and the authorities are now trying to ascertain his identity. Another 38 people linked to the terrorist group were also nabbed to facilitate investigations. Several of them were also said to be villagers from the area.
The majority of the villagers, however, are making their way into three evacuation centres in the area. Checks revealed that more than 2,700 villagers are now seeking refuge at these centres, which are being protected by the authorities.
In Sandakan, more than 1,000 Filipinos, believed to be illegal immigrants, fled for their home country in barter boats, a trip which would take them almost 24 hours.