KOTA KINABALU: Thousands of military personnel have gathered at the Padang Merdeka here tonight to honour the soldiers who died in the line of duty during the 2013 Lahad Datu intrusion.
The Daulat Feb 2013 Battle Honour ceremony is held to award and recognise the contributions of soldiers involved in the bloody episode, which claimed the lives of eight policemen and two soldiers.
Military personnel and officers saluted and cheered as Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, decked in camouflage uniform, arrived at the venue.
Hishammuddin, who is also Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister's Department, was accompanied by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, and Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor.
Hishammuddin is expected to present the National Sovereignty Medal to 61 armed forces personnel for their service throughout the operation, code-named Op Daulat.
More than 2,000 armed forces personnel and officers were involved in the military parade tonight. Earlier today, locals and tourists had swarmed the city centre as 8am to mingle with the security forces and take photos of the 14 military assets displayed at the venue.
These assets were used during the Lahad Datu intrusion.