MERCENARIES: Philippines confirm that Agbimudin's men were paid, says Zahid
THE intruders fighting alongside self-styled Sulu crown prince Azzimudie@Agbimudin Kiram are mercenaries.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was corroborated by the Philippine government when he met the country's Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Department of National Defence Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin.
"We received similar feedback from the Philippine government that the armed men were paid to carry out the attacks in Sabah.
"We have learnt that they are used to carrying weapons and have done so since the 1970s during the armed struggle helmed by Nur Misuari, the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)," he said after giving out Pingat Jasa Malaysia to 50 armed forces veterans here yesterday.
Zahid said the intruders never left home unarmed.
"They would carry machine guns like we carry handphones," he added.
He also confirmed that Agbimudin was a Malaysian citizen who had worked as a civil servant in Sabah.
Zahid said Agbimudin was an assistant district officer in Kudat when Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun was Sabah chief minister. Mustapha was chief minister between 1967 and 1975.
"He was given Malaysian citizenship during Tun Mustapha's time. However, I can't say whether he is still a Malaysian citizen."
He also rubbished claims that there was a plot to assassinate Jamalul Kiram III by the Malaysian government.
He said Jamalul should not worry and gave assurance that Malaysia had no plans to intrude into the Philippines to get him. Zahid, however, urged the self-styled Sulu sultan to pull back his men from Sabah.
In Kluang, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said his ministry would work with foreign intelligence agencies, such as the Philippine's National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), to investigate the people behind the intrusion and ensure justice was meted out.
"Our intelligence agencies will work closely with NICA to establish the identity of the mastermind behind the intrusion and (ensure) that justice is delivered.
"We will strengthen the cooperation among the network of intelligence agencies in countries, including Indonesia, to ensure that stability and security in the region are not compromised, and prevent the infiltration of terrorists.
"The cooperation will ensure that the latest information on any parties wanting to trigger chaos -- such as the Kiram family or organisations and individuals such as Nur Misuari, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Dar al-Islam or certain politicians -- can be nipped in the bud," he said at the the launch of the GiatMara Sembrong, in Taman Seri Lambak, here.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would announce the details of the East Sabah Security Command (Esscom) tomorrow.
"I will not elaborate on the setting up of Esscom to probe the Lahad Datu intrusion as the prime minister will reveal the details during the 206th Police Day on Monday."
He said his ministry would also focus on strengthening the Royal Malaysia Police, particularly the marine police, VAT 69 commando, the General Operations Force and Special Action Unit.