Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lahad Datu: Esscom dismisses claims of clashes with 400 Sulu gunmen

Malaysia has dismissed claims by Philippines media of clashes between security forces and some 400 Sulu gunmen in the east coast Lahad Datu district.

Eastern Sabah Security Command director (Esscom) director Datuk Mohamad Mantek told The Star Tuesday that claims of clashes were "absurd."

"No such thing happened," he said, adding that an incident of such magnitude would not have gone unnoticed.

"There were no intrusions and neither were there movements of people. Nothing at all," he said.

Such claims were mischievous and meant to cause unease, he added.

Mohamad said the public should check with the nearest police station or Esscom should they come across such claims.

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He also said police were continuing their investigations into a claim by a 14-year-old Lahad Datu girl that she had been taken by a group of masked men to a plantation on Monday afternoon before they disappeared.

Philippines media reported that some 400 Sulu gunmen were in firefight with Malaysian security forces at a village in Tungk near Lahad Datu Monday afternoon.

Abraham Idjirani, a spokesman of the self-styled Sulu sultanate, claimed in the Philippines media that the clashes were reported to him by Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram.

Abraham claimed they were moving about in the Tungku at about 1pm when they encountered the Malaysian troops. He claimed the Sulu gunmen were then forced to retreat to their "base" in Lahad Datu.

Idjirani added that the clash in Tungku was also confirmed by Hajib Mujaha Hashim, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front's Islamic Command Council.

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