KUALA TERENGGANU: Countering the Lahad Datu intrusion five years ago was the biggest challenge a police weapons expert faced in his almost three decades of service.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Amin Sidek, who is also the Commandant of the Terengganu Police Contingent’s Bomb Disposal Unit, was called upon to evaluate the weapons that should be used to handle the intruders.
ASP Amin, who can identify more than 50 firearms, along with their functions, unique characteristics and country of origin, amassed his vast knowledge from 28 years of service in the force, of which 21 years were in the weaponry unit.
ASP Amin cited the intrusion in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, Sabah, on Feb 11, 2013, as truly testing his firearms knowledge.
As events were unfolding, he was called up to the headquarters to evaluate the weapons they could use to counter the enemies.
“I remember my heart thumping after I received the phone call from headquarters asking me to come down as soon as possible. I prayed I would make the right choice in choosing the weapons.
“Nobody thought that the Sulu militants were well equipped and the police lost a number of its personnel.
“The right type of firearms, the right number and their suitability for the operations had to be identified quickly so that the enemies could be neutralised.
“It was the most challenging time for us then, we felt the clock ticking slowly. Every second was important with the actions taken by the police, army and the government being closely watched not only by the citizens but by the whole world,” he said.
The intruders were successfully neutralised by the police and the armed forces by March 24 and subsequently the government established the Eastern Sabah Security Command to safeguard Sabah’s east coast. — Bernama