KOTA KINABALU, (Jan 7) — Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, who served as tactical commander during last year’s Kampung Tanduo intrusion by terrorists, was informed of an attack at the village on March 1, which left two members of Malaysia’s security forces dead.
That information was relayed via a hand-held radio receiver or walkie-talkie from three leaders of five designated sectors near the village where VAT69 snipers were stationed.
Abdul Rashid, who was previously the federal internal security and public order department (special operations command) deputy director, said one of the sector leaders had told him, via the walkie-talkie, that their location was compromised, when he heard gunshots in the background.
“It was about 10am and I was told by one of the sector leaders, Superintendent Macha, that there was an attack.
“Then, another sector leader DSP Anwar said, ‘compromised’, and I (again) heard gunshots.
“Right after that (communication with Anwar), I was informed by the third sector leader, DSP Rani, that there was a casualty in his group and later, I was informed there was another casualty by Superintendent Macha,” he said.
He was testifying on the second day of the trial of 30 individuals charged with various offences related to terrorism in Sabah, at the state prisons department which doubled as a high court, here today.
Abdul Rashid, who is currently director of the security and public order division of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) in Lahad Datu, was informed by his team, an hour after the attack began, that the casualties were identified as Inspector Zulkifli Mamat and Corporal Sabaruddin Daud, while three men were injured.
He was also informed that the group of intruders (terrorists) involved in the attack had fired the first shot, adding that he was at the VAT69 Tactical Base in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu when the attack occurred.
Earlier, Abdul Rashid said he had met one of the accused, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, and two men who had joined his second visit to Kampung Tanduo on the morning of Feb 16.
He told the court he did not know who they were then, and did not ask what their purpose was on that visit as his attention was on his duty to assess the area upon reaching the village.
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, punishable with life imprisonment and a fine upon conviction.
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; one of them, the sole woman of the 30 and a Malaysian citizen, is charged with harbouring persons knowing they were members of a terrorist group, while two are charged with attempting to harbour persons knowing they were members of a terrorist group.
The rest are Philippine nationals.
They are all accused of committing the respective offences between Feb 12 and April 10 last year.
The hearing, before Justice Stephen Chung, is aided by a prosecuting team of seven led by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, while a total of 10 counsel appeared for the accused.
Hearing continues tomorrow. — BERNAMA