Ground troops moving into Tanduo; air strikes over

Updated 10:00pm

Malaysian fighter jets took to the skies for aerial bombing for about ten minutes as the still of the morning was shattered by the tremendous explosion heard by journalists covering the stand-off from Sahabat Felda Residences, close to Tanduo. 

Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau hospitals ready to accept casualties


FELDA SAHABAT [LAHAD DATU]: Ground troops are said to be moving in on Tanduo for mopping up operations to search and take out any surviving remnants of the Sultan of Sulu’s followers.

Air strikes and artillery fire which began at 7.00am have ended 40 minutes later, said our sources on the ground, and troops have been on stand-by enter the sprawling seaside village.

In the meantime, hospitals at Tungku, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan are on full stand-by to accept casualties that will be air-lifted to the nearest hospital that warrants the situation.

An army medical camp had earlier been established just outside the Felda Sahabat area.

At 8.30am, 90 minutes after the air force struck, military trucks were seen ferrying troops from Cendrawasih where they were based and headed for Sahabat 17 – the closest point to Tanduo.

Elite military and police squads were also on the ground and are believed to be involved in the shootouts with the gunmen.

However, reporters at the scene in Felda Sahabat are crying foul that they have been “tricked” by the police who are refusing them entry to Sahabat Residence where they are based.

These reporters and photographers including an RTM crew, had been told to go to Cendrawasih to “shoot” Nuri helicopters ferrying in troops, but after completing their jobs, they were then barred from returning.

“We have been stopped at the roadblock into Sahabat Residence,” complained a national media personnel bitterly. “But others can go in and out freely”.

Just before Tungku, police set up a massive roadblock to prevent anyone from entering Tungku and the nearby Felda Sahabat village.

No vehicles are being allowed in at all.

At the Felda Sahabat gate, at least one foreign journalist and several local journalists have been refused entry into the area.

“Contact the OCPD for permission,” was all those guarding the roadblocks would say. And no prizes for guessing correctly that the OCPD could not be reached.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini, another online portal reported that a 10:17 desptach from the ANC News Channel, reported that bombs were being dropped about a kilometer away from where Abjimuddim Kiram and his men are located.

Leader Abjimuddin said his group could not yet determine if the bombs were meant to target them or their followers, but they remained safe and secure and were ready to fight back.

Meanwhile in Manila, a group of protesters have arrived at the Malaysia embassy to condemn the attack.

Earlier at 10.15am: Abjimuddin, leader of the intruders, vented his anger at the Philippine government in a radio interview with, the online news portal of Philippine TV channel TV5.

“The government is ordering the arrest of our companions even if we haven’t done anything bad,” he said. “It’s like we aren’t Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Abraham Idjarani, spokesperson of the sultanate, tells radio station dzBB that Abjimuddin had phoned to inform them of the start of the assault.

“There is nothing to be done about that now,” Idjirani said in a separate interview with AFP.

He stressed that Abjimuddin’s earlier announcement that they will fight to the end remains.

“We are not intruders. They (Malaysians) are the ones occupying our ancestral land,” he says.

Read more at: