A soldier was injured in the right thigh and the bodies of four foreigners as well as an injured boy were found in a house following a clash today between security forces and Sulu terrorists in Kampung Tanjung Batu, said chief of defence forces gen Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.
The injured boy was airlifted to Sandakan Hospital for treatment, he told a news conference, also attended by deputy inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar at the Felda Sahabat 16 operations command near here.
Zulkifeli said the bodies were of two adults, a man and a woman, and two children, a boy and a girl, but there were no identification documents on them.
He said the gun battle took place at 9.15 am after security forces engaged in a mopping-up exercise had tailed two terrorists, who entered a house and opened fire at them.
“The gun battle went on for several minutes. The security forces saw one of the enemy dash into an adjacent house and torch it. They opened fire at the first house and then entered it and found the bodies and the injured boy,” he said.
Zulkifeli said the security forces also found foodstuff believed to have been stored at the house.
He said the four bodies had been brought out of the location, and this raised to 42 the number of corpses removed from the scenes of battle.
Zulkifeli said the desperate terrorists were moving about in small groups and employing small unit tactics to try and cause as much injury as possible to the security forces tailing them.
“We have learned from their modus operandi that the enemy would lure the security forces to an area where their snipers would open fire. After a gun battle, they would retreat into a house to hold off the security forces and burn down the dwelling when they could not hold on any longer,” he said.
He said they continued to stall the security forces by retreating to nearby swampy areas and engaging in battles with the pursuing forces.
Zulkifeli said he was convinced that all the enemy snipers had been shot dead by the security forces in battles up to March 20.
“After March 20, the security forces did not face snipers any more. We believe the security forces have taken out all their snipers and there is no more threat from them,” he said.