LAHAD DATU: The Malaysian security forces’ efforts to combat the militants from the southern Philippines was made easy with good cooperation from the local residents.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the cooperation given by the residents was not only limited to adhering instruction to evacuate, but also in becoming the eyes and ears of the security forces.
He said the residents’ cooperation had also led to the arrest of several influential individuals, hence crippled the terrorists’ movement since they landed in Kampung Tanduo near here over a month ago.
“When the police told them to evacuate, they obeyed, and some even moved out of their own houses voluntarily using their own vehicles.
“Besides, the information they gave us about the current whereabouts of the terrorists were proven true, hence enabled us to make the arrest,” he said when met here.
Based on records, among the high-profile terrorists arrested following the public tip-off was the militant commander Datu Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram, who was nabbed in a swamp area in Semporna on March 23.
He said the cooperation from the residents had also led to the arrest of a local man wanted for being a traitor and for providing the militants with basic necessities since they entered and holed up in Kampung Tanduo.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, when expressing special appreciation for the residents’ cooperation, was also reported as saying that the information really meant a lot as they caused the militants’ movement to be crippled.
Hamza said good social integration and interaction between the police and the local residents throughout the operation to flush out the militants, dubbed Ops Daulat, had also resulted in increased cooperation that would ensure the people would be able to enjoy safer and comfortable living conditions, free from all threats.
“However, we still need the people to continue channeling information about any suspicious activities in their areas to the police in a bid to reduce the risk of crime incidents,” he said.
Hamza said what was implemented between the police and military forces was an effort to fulfill the government’s promise to ensure safe living condition for the people, especially in Lahad Datu.
On police morale, Hamza said the last 28 days under the Ops Daulat had not shaken the spirit of the policemen because they were still highly motivated to solve the intrusion issue which had lasted for almost 50 days.
“We have certain procedures in carrying out the operation and to motivate our personnel, they will be given some space and opportunity to rejuvenate themselves before resuming their tasks,” he added. — Bernama