KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian security forces were taken by surprise when Sulu gunmen suddenly fired on them during a close reconnaissance operation in Kampung Tanduo last year, the High Court heard yesterday.
VAT 69 commando Sjn Mohd Rosli Sidek, 53, said he was inspecting houses in an area of the village with his team when they heard gunshots.
“We immediately left our inspection duties and started running in the direction of the gunshots when suddenly, shots were fired at us,” he said, adding that they had to take cover and retaliate.
Earlier, Rosli testified they had entered Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu to carry out a close reconnaissance at about 1am on March 1 last year.
“My team and I were in charge of inspecting five identified houses in the village. After I inspected the fourth house, I heard gunshots,” he said at the trial of 30 people charged with involvement in the intrusion of Sulu gunmen into Lahad Datu and Semporna.
Rosli said he was with his team leader, whom he identified as Insp Sahar, at that time.
He added that they soon ran into their other colleagues.
After taking their positions and retaliating, Rosli said they saw two men fully clad in fatigues behind some oil palm trees on their right.
“A shootout lasting about 10 minutes broke out before Insp Sahar beckoned towards me to pull back,” he said.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar on the reason for pulling back, Rosli said the team was at an exposed and dangerous position with only young oil palm trees for cover.
“The intruders were heavily armed and they had matured oil palm trees as cover,” he said.
The team, said Rosli, then retreated to a small forest further away from the shooting area and maintained a ground defence until 1.30pm on the same day when they received other instructions.
The trial continues today.