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Published: Tuesday January 28, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday January 28, 2014 MYT 7:24:34 AM

Sulu invaders' 'white flag' came at gunpoint, says commando

KOTA KINABALU: A Sulu intruder held a stick with a white paper attached to it while two others flanking him pointed their guns at two police commandos at an oil palm estate in Kampung Tanduo, the High Court here heard.

Police VAT 69 commando Kpl Azman Ampong said he was not sure what the intruders were trying to signal with the A4-sized paper when they approached him and Kpl Mohd Tarmizi Hashim.

Kpl Azman said this when replying to defence counsel Datuk N. Sivanathan on whether the armed men were trying to surrender, since they had brought a “white flag” and walked towards the security forces at that time.

“I am not sure what their intentions were because although one of the armed men had brought the stick with the white paper attached to it, two other men on his left and right sides were pointing their guns at us,” he said at the trial of 30 men involved in the Feb 12 incursion into Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu last year.

The encounter occurred before a breakout of shootings at about 10am on March 1, 2013.

The trial was held at a hall declared as a High Court room at the Kepayan Prison.

Testifying before High Court Judge Stephen Chung, Kpl Azman said he fully understood that a “white flag” was an indication of an enemy willing to surrender.

Asked whether they had received orders to attack the gunmen after the first gunshot was fired, he said they had not.

“When the shots were fired by the enemies, I informed my team leader DSP Anuar of the confrontation and he asked us to retreat,” said Kpl Azman, reiterating that they had been briefed earlier to exercise maximum restraint.

Kpl Azman said he and his partner decided to retaliate when they were shot at, adding that a call for assistance was made via walkie-talkie immediately after that.

Twenty-two of the 30 accused, including two Malaysians, are being jointly tried on a charge of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and being members of a terrorist group.

One of them faces two additional charges of recruiting members for a terrorist group and harbouring individuals believed to be members of a terrorist group.

Five of the accused are charged with being members of a terrorist group, while another, a Malaysian woman, is accused of harbouring individuals believed to be members of a terrorist group.

Two others are charged with attempting to harbour individuals believed to be members of a terrorist group.

Tags / Keywords: Government, Courts & Crime, sulu, gunmen, intruders, lahad datu, tanduo vat 69, commandos

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