Malaysian, US forces hold six-day military exercise in Tanduo

LAHAD DATU: The shores of Tanduo shook amid heavy aerial and naval bombardment early Tuesday as elite Malaysian and American commandos made amphibious landings to "wipe out" the Abu Sayyaf group holding the area.

The military action at Tanduo beach in Sabah's east coast district was just a simulation and demonstration exercise by Malaysia's elite sea commandos PASCAL and the US military's Green Berets.

The coordinated training was part of the Tiger Strike 2017 joint exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United State First Marine Corp.

Apart from the navy and air force, the ground forces of the Battalion 22 of the Royal Malay Regiment were joined by the 1st Marine Regiment of the United States Marine Corp (USMC) in the "assault" against the terrorists.

They continued their exercise at the army's shooting range in Camp Paradise at Kota Belud on Tuesday under the six-day exercise from Nov 16-23.

According to a statement, Exercise Tiger Strike 2017 involved 458 men and officers with 329 from the Malaysia Armed Forces and 129 from USMC.

The aim of the operations were to test "interoperability" between Malaysian and US forces during a joint military operation.

The two armed forces also tested their communications, planning and implementing the amphibian landing and assault capabilities.

"This exercise or training will benefit both the forces in terms of working together in counter terrorism particularly along the coast of Sabah's east coast.

"It also provides the American marines a real feel of combating within the forest and swamp conditions in our area," Malaysian Armed Forces assistant chief staff for operations and training Mejar Jeneral Datuk Sheikh Mokhsin said.

USMC 1st Regiment Commander Colonel Kevin Norton was among those present during the exercise.

Tanduo was the centre of the Lahad Datu intrusion by southern Philippines based Sulu gunmen in Feb 2013.