KOTA KINABALU: Aerial bombings and mortar attacks were carried out in Kampung Tanduo after the Sulu intruders started firing on Malaysian security forces in March last year, a police commando told the High Court.
VAT69 commando Deputy Supt Hakemal Hawari said the offensive was carried out on March 5, four days after the Sulu gunmen started firing at the security forces.
Testifying at the trial of 30 people involved in the Lahad Datu and Semporna intrusion into Tanduo on Feb 12, last year, he said that prior to the bombardment, the police had been instructed to work with the army, with regards to the operation to weed out the intruders.
DSP Hakemal told Justice Stephen Chung that prior to the offensive against the intruders, he was instructed by his superior to meet up with the VAT69 sniper team for further action on March 3.
After a discussion with the army’s Fifth Brigade commander Datuk Ranjit Singh on March 3, he went to his “area of responsibility” with him and other officers to assess the terrain.
“Later, I went to a rumah kongsi where our sniper team was located, and we stayed there until the armed forces launched the ground and aerial bombardment on March 5,” he added.
DSP Hakemal said he also instructed his men to enter the area a day before the bombardment to assist in the operation.
DSP Hakemal and other police personnel returned to the VAT69 base in Felda Sahabat 16 after the bombardment ended at 5pm.
He said on March 6, he received a briefing from Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, who was the then Internal Security and Public Order deputy director, on a cut-off operation which would be carried out in Kampung Tanjung Batu.
This operation was to prevent any of the armed intruders from escaping.
On March 9, DSP Hakemal said his men had informed him that they had shot dead six intruders during their operations at Tanjung Batu.
He added that he and his men were instructed to return to the village from March 15 to March 21 to guard the area as part of the mopping-up operations.
“I heard shots being fired occasionally between March 15 and 21, but we didn’t know the exact locations of the shooters.”
Leading the prosecution team is Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail while the defence counsel is led by Datuk N. Sivanathan.