Security forces on high alert in Sabah

A Malaysian special forces trooper on standby at Lahad Datu in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU - Security forces are carrying out a detailed investigation to verify claims that there will be a second wave of Sulu attack.

The security forces are not treating talks of a second Sulu intrusion lightly, though it is believed to be a psychological war by the terrorist leaders.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, who chaired the state security council meeting yesterday, said: "Follow -up steps are being taken on all information received and the state's security is being further strengthened."

Speculation is rife in the east coast towns of Lahad Datu and Semporna that the Sulu terrorists - who were defeated in April by security forces after they gained control of Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu - were planning to launch a second intrusion during Hari Raya or on Aug 30 before Merdeka Day.

Musa urged the public to be the eyes and ears of the security forces and provide information about suspicious activities in their respective areas.

The Chief Minister stressed that the overall security situation in Sabah was good and under control and the public need not worry as security had been beefed up with the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) since April 1.

Esscom is continuously planning and implementing actions to strengthen security in Sabah, he said in stressing that the public must give their full support to the actions taken by Esscom in the interest of peace and security.

During the same press conference, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said police believed that most of the information received were part of a psychological warfare strategy by the Sulu terrorists.

Hamza also said police believed that people linked to Sulu terrorist leader Azzimudie Kiram, who has disappeared after fleeing Sabah since his defeat in March, were spreading such rumours as they feared that disgruntled Sulu members might kill them.

"We believe Azzimudie (who is hiding in the Philippines) is worried that some groups might be after him as he had made many promises to the people who followed him to Sabah," Hamza added.

He said recent information stating that 80 Sulu gunmen had slipped into Sandakan had been looked into and, to date, police had yet to find any solid evidence that the gunmen had entered the state.

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