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At least 13 Philippine militants killed in Tuesday's firefight: Zahid

Published on Mar 6, 2013 5:43 PM
 
Malaysian soldiers travel in a convoy down a road in Felda Sahabat on March 6, 2013, near the village of Tanduo where Malaysia launched an assault against armed Filipino invaders. At least 13 Philippine militants were killed in the attack by Malaysian security forces on Tuesday, said Malaysia's defence minister. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - At least 13 Philippine militants were killed in the attack by Malaysian security forces on Tuesday, said Malaysia's defence minister.

"We believe more have been killed. The mop up operation is still going on," Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi was quoted saying by local media on Wednesday, in the first briefing on the death count from the offensive on the remote Sabah village of Tanduo.

He added that no Malaysian personnel have been injured so far.

Separately, four men believed to be linked to the armed gunmen were arrested by police on Wednesday, local media reported. The four men, aged between 20 and 50 years, were arrested in a special operation conducted by the Sabah Police Special Investigation Department.

The operation was aimed at tracking down gunmen impersonating as villagers in Semporna, the venue of a firefight last Saturday that killed six policemen.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian police chief Ismail Omar said security forces have widened their search for the militants, amid concerns that they have escaped to surrounding areas.

About 150 gunmen - followers of a self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu - had camped in Tanduo for more than three weeks after arriving by boat on its shores last month.

They have been trying to stake an ancestral claim on Sabah and have refused to leave, despite calls from both the Malaysian and Philippine governments to surrender.

chengwee@sph.com.sg

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