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Malaysia readies force vs another intrusion

MALAYSIAN authorities are not discounting the possibility that followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III may stage vengeance attacks in Sabah and are preparing a quick-response police commando unit for the purpose, according to Malaysia’s official news agency. The Bernama news agency said at least 50 people in Sabah were detained over a July 3 letter, purportedly from “militant commandos” supporting the Sulu sultanate, hinting at news attacks to be staged in Sabah in retaliation for the Lahad Datu clashes last March. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi doubted the veracity of the July 3 letter, but Malaysian authorities are taking the matter seriously and have prepared a special police commando unit for any eventuality, Bernama said. “Although I doubt that the letter saying that terrorists will come to unleash violence in Sabah is real, we still investigate its origin. The people of Sabah need not worry and do not listen to rumors. Security forces are always on alert and have enough officers, men, and equipment,” Bernama quoted Hamidi as saying. Meanwhile, Sabah police commissioner Hamza Taib said the proposed special strike force will include about 100 commandos and be able to respond to any threat quickly. “I have requested (Malaysian police headquarters) to station a strike force ready to be deployed to any part of Sabah at any time,” Hamza was quoted as saying. Hamza said Malaysian security forces have already beefed up their presence and firepower along Sabah’s east coast even as Kuala Lumpur continues to coordinate with Philippine officials in dealing with any threat. The Lahad Datu incident began last February 11 when 235 militants, some of whom were armed, arrived in several boats at Lahad Datu town in Sabah, Malaysia. Coming from Simunul island in Tawi-Tawi, the militants calimed they belonged to the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” and were sent by Kiram to assert the sultanate’s unresolved claim to North Borneo. Malaysian security forces surrounded the village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu where the group had gathered and after several weeks of negotiations and broken deadlines for the intruders to withdraw, security forces moved in and routed the Sulu militants.
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