IGP: Five Malaysian cops killed in ambush; two intruders also killed in Semporna
03 Mar 2013 02:11pm
SEMPORNA: Five policemen, one of them an officer, were killed in an ambush by armed intruders in Kampung Sri Jaya, Simunul, Semporna, Sabah, last night, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar told reporters in Lahad Datu
He said two of the armed intruders were also killed, Bernama reported.
According to Philippine Inquirer, during a news conference aired by a shortwave station based in Tawau, whose broadcast was monitored here, the IGP said that when reports came in that remnants or supporters of Agbimuddin Kiram had been sighted in Semporna, some 150 kilometers from Lahad Datu, Malaysian security forces were immediately deployed there on Saturday afternoon.
Bernama quoted Ismail as saying the 8 p.m. incident in Siminul village took place as Malaysian security forces were also verifying reports that some people in the village, where many Filipinos live, possessed firearms.
“The five ill-fated personnel were tasked to conduct ground assessment when fired upon as they approached a house in Kampung Simunul,” he said, adding that the policemen managed to fire back and had killed two of the gunmen.
“Two of the intruders were also killed and we are still after their companions,” Omar said.
Hamza Taib, Sabah police commissioner, said during an earlier news conference also broadcast by a Sabah shortwave station that some 40 policemen were sent to Semporna following reports that some armed men had been sighted there on Saturday.
He said the Semporna operation began around 4 p.m. and while police were heading for Siminul, a group of men numbering not more than 10 fired on them.
Hamza said members of the Malaysian police were approaching a house in Siminul when they were fired upon by the unidentified men, using automatic rifles.
Ismail said some areas in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kunal, were now being closely watched because armed men had been monitored there in the aftermath of the Lahad Datu clashes on Friday.
Ismail said in fact, armed men had already been sighted in two villages of Kunak as Agbimuddin’s forces tried to evade the manhunt staged by Malaysian security forces.
“Ten foreigners with three in camouflage uniforms and arms are currently hiding in one of the houses in Kunak,” he said.
As this developed, Ismail said three more “intruders” were arrested as they were sneaking out of Tanduo in Lahad Datu.
Hamza said the situation in Semporna remains under control despite the incident and that no further incidents had taken place after the ambush.
Earlier, reports had it that an explosion also rocked the Pulau Bum Bum police station in the town but Hamza said these were without basis.
“The police had encircled the village in hunt of the attackers,” the newspaper Borneo Insider quoted Hamza in a separate report.
Ismail said the Malaysian authorities had not restricted movements of people within Sabah despite the series of violence.
He said Sabahans had been advised to remain calm and refrain from believing unverified stories.