Sulu military commander captured

(Bernama) – LAHAD DATU: Security forces have successfully crippled the movements of the terrorists from Sulu who intruded into Lahad Datu after capturing their military commander in Semporna, early this morning.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said the man, in his 40s, was detained with his wife at a swampy area at 1.30am after a tip off.

He said the security forces also detained a local who provided all the needs of the terrorists from the early days of their landing in Kampung Tanduo on Feb 12 until today.

Without going into further details on the man who is in his 40s, Khalid said he was caught at 10pm yesterday in Kampung Tanduo and was now being held under the Immigration Act.

“The local coordinator has been identified as the individual who made arrangements for food and drinks, accommodation, transportation and medicine for the terrorists since the early part of the intrusion,” he said.

“With the capture of the commander and a local stooge of the terrorists, I am confident the terrorist group is now crippled,” he told a media conference at the security forces operations heaquarters at Felda Sahabat 16 near here today.

Khalid said with the capture of the two individuals, he believed the movements of the remnants of the terrorists were now limited and weakened as they were directionless and no longer getting assistance from locals.

Thanking the local community for furnishing information which had led to the capture of a most wanted individual, Khalid said “Operasi Daulat” (the offensive against the terrorists) which entered its 19th day today, would still be continued and expected the community in Lahad Datu would resume they normal lives soon.

Boosting confidence

On the latest statistics of Operasi Daulat, he said to date, 408 people had been detained for numerous offences, while the number of terrorists shot dead remained at 63.

He said 38 bodies of the terrorists were also retrieved from the operation area, including eight which were taken out of Kampung Tanjung Batu yesterday.

The bodies were now undergoing post-mortems at the Lahad Datu Hospital, he said.

On the incident in Kembara Sakti yesterday, Khalid said the number of security forces in the village had been increased to boost the confidence of the residents to continue their normal lives.

“There is no reason for them to be afraid and I advise all community members, residents and plantation workers in Kembara Sakti to return home as the security forces will always protect them,” he said.

He said preliminary police investigation found the matter to be only rumours which was exaggerated and caused worry to residents.

About 1,000 residents in Kampung Kembara Sakti were reported to have moved to a nearby religious school and mosque after a housewife claimed four hungry terrorists came to her house when she was alone and tied up her hands and feet.

The woman managed to free herself and escaped when the militants were busy looking for food.