Commando ordered men to retreat

KOTA KINABALU - A police VAT69 commando ordered two of his men to retreat after they were shot at as Sulu gunmen opened fire on their team during a shootout at Kampung Tanduo on March 1, last year.

Deputy Supt Anuar Rosdi, who is the deputy officer in charge of the VAT69 intelligence operations unit, said he and his men had gone to the area to provide back-up to an earlier team, which was involved in a shootout with the gunmen.

He said they heard the gunshots not far from where they were holding post during a close recce at about 11am that day.

Not long after they reached the area, two of his men, Kpl Tarmizi and Kpl Azman Ampong, were shot at by stray bullets, which he believed were fired from the direction of the armed intruders, he added.

"I ordered them to take cover and try to retreat if possible," he said during the trial of the 30 people accused of various offences in connection with the Sulu gunmen intrusion in Lahad Datu and Semporna in February and March last year.

He told High Court judge Justice Stephen Chung that the shootout, which started at about 10am, lasted for about an hour.

When asked by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail whether he could identify the types of firearms used by the enemy during the incident, DSP Anuar said it seemed like they were using, among others, automatic weapons, 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibre rifles.

DSP Anuar, who is the sixth witness to testify in the trial since it started on Jan 6, said he later went to the area to investigate and found two bodies of the Sulu gunmen, clad in T-shirts and camouflage pants.

He said they later removed their injured men and waited for further instructions from their commander Datuk Azizan Abdul Aziz.

"We waited for about four hours in a readied position before Datuk Azizan instructed us to search for a safer place to stay put," he said.

DSP Anuar said his team was instructed to return to the VAT69 tactical base at Felda Sahabat 16 at about 3.45am the next day.

On March 6, he said Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, who was at that time Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order deputy director, ordered him and other teams to go to Tanjung Batu to carry out their duties, including mopping-up operations following the shootout.

They encountered several gunmen there and a shootout that lasted between five and 10 minutes ensued.

DSP Anuar said they remained in position about two hours after that before going to the place where the gunmen were, to investigate, where they found two bodies.

DSP Anuar also told the court that he was instructed by his sector leader Supt Mancha Laga to work with the army to do an observation in Kampung Tanduo on March 12, and was allowed to return to his post in Ulu Kinta, Perak on March 23.