KUALA LUMPUR: Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has refuted claims that Filipinos are being targeted and killed at will in Sabah, simply because they are of Sulu descent.
"It is just another baseless accusation. If such a thing had or is happening, it would have been reported.
"But in this case, police have clarified and confirmed that there are no shooting incidents in any parts of Sabah, except the operation zones."
Zahid said he had read such reports in several foreign media.
He said police had confirmed that they found elements linking the armed militants to accomplices at three locations, namely Kampung Tanduo, Tanjung Labian and Tanjung Batu.
A Philippines news agency's report had accused Malaysian security forces of brutality. It alleged thousands of Filipinos of Sulu decent from Sabah had fled in fear of being targeted and killed at will.
On the move to deploy an additional five army battalions from the peninsula to Sabah, Zahid said the move was to safeguard the coastal areas and enhance security in the Special Security Area, stretching 1,400km between Kudat and Tawau.
"The deployment of these men to Sabah will not affect security operations in the peninsula," he said after the ground-breaking ceremony for the Armed Forces Fund Board's residential college at the International Islamic Universiti in Gombak.