LAHAD DATU: Security forces undertaking an offensive against armed intruders in the Sabah east coast killed 32 militants in clashes yesterday at ground zero in Tanjung Batu near here, raising to 52 the number of militants killed since last Friday.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the police believed that a militant leader with the rank of general was one of the 31 gunmen killed in one of the clashes, at 11.30am.
“One militant was killed in a clash at 6.45am. None of the security forces personnel was injured,” he told a news conference, along with Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, at 5pm at Felda Sahabat 16 near here.
Ismail said the security forces widened the area of their operation yesterday to flush out the remnants of the militants believed to be holed up in Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu.
The death toll of 52 included the militants killed in skirmishes with the police in Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu as well as Kampung Simunul in Semporna, he said.
“Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu are still within the cordon of the security forces,” he said.
Zulkifeli said the security forces engaged in the mopping-up and search operation had been advised to be cautious at all times to avert injury.
“They can take a little more time … this is to avert any untoward incident,” he said. — Bernama