KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here yesterday was told that a Bukit Aman Special Action Unit (UTK) was ordered to assist the Special Branch (SB) police officers in any operations to arrest and trace suspected individuals linked to the skirmishes at Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu and Kampung Sri Jaya in Simunul, Semporna.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) deputy chief of staff of UTK, ACP Hazani Ghazali, who testified before Justice Stephen Chung, said that the UTK team was deployed to Semporna on March 4, 2013, and ASP Wan Kamal Rizal of the SB team had acted as liaison officer between the UTK and SB in carrying out any operation.
“I, together with my officers, was also mobilized to Semporna on March 4, 2013, and when we reached Semporna, I converted the marine police base into a UTK operation room,” said the witness under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar.
Hazani was the 93rd witness called by the prosecution to give oral evidence in the trial of 29 men and a woman, including a nephew of the late self-styled Sulu Sultanate III, Datu Jamalul Kiram, who were arrested for allegedly committing terrorism acts at several places in Lahad Datu, Semporna, Kunak and Sandakan between February 12 and April 10, 2013.
If found guilty, the accused would be liable to the mandatory death sentence while the rest face imprisonment for life and a fine.
To a question by Mohd Dusuki, the witness testified that on March 10, 2013 at about 5.45 am, he received a call from ASP Wan Kamal asking to see him.
“I went to the Semporna police station to see ASP Wan Kamal, who informed me that the UTK would be assisting to arrest a suspected individual named Panglima Tani,” the witness testified.
The witness further explained that ASP Wan Kamal had briefed him on the description of Panglima Tani, the suspect’s alleged hiding place at Kampung Perigi in Semporna, aerial photos and Google maps of the village and was also given videos that were recorded by ASP Wan Kamal’s team.
“I then went back to our operation room and called DSP Nasaruddin and briefed him on those details of Panglima Tani and instructed UTK team to be on standby for the arrest operation,” the witness further testified.
The trial, held at a hall that has been converted as an open court at the Kepayan prisons here under tight security by police and prison personnel, will continue on April 20.