Sabah crisis: Malaysian security forces arrest 27 people off coast of besieged village
LAHAD DATU: Malaysia's security forces arrested 27 people in three boats on Saturday afternoon off the coast of a village where Philippine gunmen are being hunted.
Federal police chief Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the suspects have been transported to the Lahad Datu police headquarters 130 km away for further investigation to determine if they have links to gunmen currently hiding between two villages in the operation zone.
"They claimed to be fishermen but we are still investigating this," Mr Ismail told a press conference on Saturday (mar 9).
Armed forces chief General Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin said they have tracked the remaining gunmen to a zone five kilometres between Tanduo and Tanjung Batu villages.
Mr Ismail had also said that security forces also killed one gunmen early on Saturday, bringing the death count among the gunmen to 53
The suspected gunman was shot down trying to break through the security forces's cordon around the Tanjung Batu village.
The arrests bring to 106 people apprehended since security forces launched a large-scale assault on Tanduo village on March 5 to flush out the gunmen.
Seventy-nine people have been arrested outside the operation zone under Malaysia's Security Offence law intended to suppress terrorist activities.
More than 150 Philippine gunmen professing loyalty to self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III invaded Tanduo on Feb 9 to "reclaim" Sabah, a state they insist belongs to the sultanate centuries ago.