KOTA KINABALU: — The Sulu gunmen who invaded Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu about two years ago had claimed that they had enough weapons to cause chaos in Sabah, the High Court was told today.
The supervising officer of the Bukit Aman Special Branch (SB) communication interception unit, ASP Muhammad Fauzairi Jaidi, said that in an intercepted telephone conversation at 6.56 pm on Feb 18, 2013, a suspect, Salib Akhmad Emali, told an unidentified man that the intruders had prepared weapons to launch a war.
“Salib said ‘they’ had prepared five sacks of fertiliser, nine large weapons, four ‘weapon 50’, five ‘weapon 30’ and five ‘weapon 60’, enough to ‘destroy’ Sabah,” he said when testifying at the trial of 30 individuals allegedly linked to the intrusion.
In the dock are 27 Filipinos and three local residents who are facing one to multiple charges of being members of a terrorist group, waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, recruiting members for a terrorist group or willfully harbouring individuals they knew to be members of a terrorist group. They allegedly committed the offences between Feb 12 and April 10, 2013.
Muhammad Fauzairi also said that the unidentified man, dubbed by the police as ‘lelaki Sabah’ (a Sabah man), responded to Salib saying that ‘Najib’, which police believe was a reference to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, “will assign his (Najib’s) soldiers, but they do not know the strength of our weapons”.
The SB officer was explaining the contents of the communication interception carried out by his unit after obtaining authorisation from the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In an intercepted telephone conversation between Salib and an individual addressed as ‘Raja’, Muhammad Fauzairi said, Raja advised Salib and possibly others to take some kind of action in their respective areas.
“Raja said he will not budge (from Kampung Tanduo) and the final decision was in the hands of Sultan Jamalul Kiram in Manila.
“Raja went on to tell Salib that the SB had come that morning (Feb 16, 2013) telling them to return to where they came from.
“Raja also advised that even though Salib and the others could not come (to Kampung Tanduo), then (they could) ‘start’ in their respective areas,” he said of the 3.51 pm phone call intercepted on Feb 16, 2013.
In another intercepted telephone conversation, on Feb 18, 2013, Muhammad Fauzairi said, it was learned that Salib was ready for war.
“Salib said to Raja that if ‘our’ area was attacked, in the name of Allah, then war will take place,” he said when referring to the outcome of the conversation intercepted by his unit at 6.47 pm.
That night, the witness said, Salib told Raja that he learnt from the news on television that ‘Musa Aman’, believed to be a reference to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, did not want any bloodshed.
On Feb 20, 2013, Muhammad Fauzairi said, in a phone call intercepted at 8.30 am, Salib told Raja that people from the Malaysian government were in the oil palm plantation observing through binoculars.
He said Salib also told Raja that ‘they’, believed to be in reference to the Malaysian government, had 3,000 men.
The following morning (Feb 21, 2013), the witness said, Salib told Raja that he (Salib) was being sought by the police.
“Raja ordered Salib to sharpen his machetes and fight back if they (the police) came,” he said.
In a telephone conversation between Salib and a man identified as his son, Muhammad Fauzairi said, Salib informed the man not to admit that Salib was his father if government officials came looking for him (Salib).
The witness said that in another telephone conversation, an individual known as Datu Bahang told Salib to surrender if it was true that police wanted to apprehend him.
The hearing, before Justice Stephen Chung at the Sabah Prisons Department, continues tomorrow. — BERNAMA