Soldier shot with home-made gun

KANGAR - Soldier Azamruddin Azizan, who was shot in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, yesterday, said he was patrolling the Malaysia-Thai border with his colleague at 4.30am when he saw bright lights coming from some bushes on the Thai side.

Azamruddin said he approached the perimeter fencing to take a closer look and, at that point, heard people fleeing the scene.

"Suddenly, I heard a gunshot. When I turned around to get away, I was hit," he said at Tuanku Fauziah Hospital here yesterday.

The 26-year-old, who is with the Royal Malay Regiment 2 headquarters in Sungai Ara, Pulau Pinang, felt grateful to have survived. "My fiancee and I plan to tie the knot soon."

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the victim was on patrol with a colleague along the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Padang Besar "safe route" near the border.

The "safe route", which is 46km long, is patrolled by the army and is off-limits to the public. The incident occurred about 4km from the General Operations Force command centre here.

Khalid said upon reaching the scene, the two soldiers, who were on a motorcycle, spotted lights, believed to be from a motorcycle headlight and a torchlight, coming from some bushes on the Thai side.

"The victim alighted from his motorcycle and approached the fence to check on the lights while his colleague waited at the machine. "He heard what sounded like people fleeing and decided to go back to the motorcycle before hearing a shot," Khalid said after visiting the scene in Bukit Kayu Hitam yesterday.

He said the victim tried to flee but collapsed after being shot in the back.

Khalid said Azamruddin's colleague dragged him to safety before alerting their officer-in-charge, who rushed him to the hospital. Azamruddin had five gunshot wounds.

He said doctors had removed the pellets from the victim's elbow and back, but not the one in his right shoulder.

"He is out of danger and we are praying for his speedy recovery."

Khalid said investigations showed that the victim was shot with a home-made gun, which used gunpowder and ball bearings as pellets. Additional reporting by Zahratulhayat Mat Arif

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