KOTA KINABALU: Sniper teams were given a directive not to fire at the Sulu terrorists if they were spotted in Kampung Tandao, Lahad Datu, a court heard.
Supt Mancha Anak Laga of the General Operations Force's (GOF) VAT69 Commando said the directive was given by Operations Tactical Commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun at a briefing that morning before Mancha and his team entered Kampung Tandao to carry out an operation on March 1 last year.
"We were not allowed to attack or fire shots at the armed intruders (if spotted) unless we were attacked or shot at first by the intruders," he told the High Court.
Mancha was testifying in the trial of 30 people charged with various offences related to terrorism activities in Sabah last year.
When asked by DPP Abdul Wahab Mohamed the position the group of terrorists was in, Mancha said, "scattered, but close to one another."
Mancha said six machetes, measuring between 44cm and 80cm, were recovered apart from firearms at the skirmish ground.
He said the weapons were found on the bodies of the 12 dead Sulu gunmen.
Other items recovered were grenade launchers, a revolver, an M16 rifle, two rifles, bullets, and magazines for rifles.
Twenty-two of the 30 individuals jointly being tried, including two Malaysian men, are charged with waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which carries the death penalty or life imprisonment, and being members of a terrorist group.
Of the 22, one faces two additional charges of recruiting members of a terrorist group and harbouring persons knowing that they were members of a terrorist group.
Of the remaining eight, five are accused of being members of a terrorist group.
They are all accused of committing the respective offences between Feb 12 and April 10, last year.
The hearing before Justice Stephen Chung continues Friday.