KOTA KINABALU, (Nov 26) — General Operations Force (GOF) personnel arrested two men, believed to be members of a Sulu militant group in Kampung Tanjung Batu, Lahad Datu, last year, the High Court here heard Wednesday.
Lance Corporal Mohd Hisyamuddin Ramlie, 29, who is attached to the GOF Battalion 17, said the two men were discovered during the GOF’s operation to look for seven to eight men seen by an informant in the village on the morning of March 3, last year.
Testifying at the trial of 30 accused facing various offences relating to the Lahad Datu intrusion in February last year, the prosecution’s 53rd witness noted that his team of four had spotted a group of six suspected militants, some in camouflage attire and others in civilian clothes, walking in a line, but they dispersed and scampered away towards some bushes when he fired a warning shot.
“I saw knee-high grass (in the bush area where the six men ran into) and felled grass, believed to have been walked over by people. I then decided to inspect the felled grass.
“I saw two men in a sloped area lying on their stomachs and facing down,” he said, adding that the men were in civilian clothes.
Asked by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff what the witness did next, Mohd Hisyamuddin said he shouted, “Put your hands on your heads. We are the police”, twice, but the men ignored his orders.
“When they ignored my orders, I fired a single gunshot to my left as a warning for them to come up (to the higher ground where the GOF personnel were standing),” he said.
When the two men went up to where the GOF personnel were, Mohd Hisyamuddin said, he and another GOF personnel, Lance Corporal Awang Yussuf Awang Hashim, tied the two suspects’ hands with the belts they (suspects) wore.
He said he and Awang Yussuf then conducted a body search on the two men, but found nothing on them.
Mohd Hisyamuddin said he informed his platoon commander Inspector Zairie Surani about the two men and handed them over to him at the GOF post in Tanjung Labian.
In court, Mohd Hisyamuddin identified the men he arrested as Holland Kalbi and Lin Mad Salleh who are on trial.
He said during their arrest at about 8.45am, Holland was wearing a yellow T-shirt and jeans, while Lin wore a black T-shirt and jeans.
He told the court that commanding officer of GOF Battalion 17, Supt Edward Koromol also came to the Tanjung Labian GOF post to see the two men he (Mohd Hisyamuddin) and his team arrested and another man wearing brown trousers and a camouflage T-shirt whom Zairie had also arrested that morning.
Mohd Hisyamuddin said he and two other GOF personnel followed Zairie to the Cenderawasih police station to lodge a report on the arrestees.
In the dock today, were 27 Filipinos and three local residents who are facing one or multiple charges.
They are accused of being members of a terrorist group, waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, recruiting members for a terrorist group or wilfully harbouring individuals they knew to be members of a terrorist group.
They allegedly committed the offences between Feb 12 and April 10, last year.
The hearing before Justice Stephen Chung at the Sabah Prisons Department continues Thursday.—BERNAMA