The suspected follower of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who was killed in an encounter in Sabah on Thursday was allegedly a bodyguard and aide of one of the Kiram followers involved in an attack that killed six Malaysian policemen on March 2.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the man was an aide of Imam Tua, one of the Kiram followers killed in the March 2 incident, Malaysia's state-run Bernama news agency reported late Thursday.
“Initial investigation found that the assailant was the bodyguard and an aide to Sulu terrorist, known as Imam Tua,” Bernama quoted him as saying in a press conference at Felda Sahabat.
While he did not name the slain aide, he described him as in his 60s.
The March 2 gunbattle at the water village killed six Malaysian policemen, and was one of the factors that led to Malaysia's offensives against Kiram's followers since March 5.
Hamza said the aide of Imam Tua was shot dead after trying to attack a member of the Malaysian security forces with a "barong" (machete) in Kampung Simunul in Semporna Thursday.
At the time, the security team was conducting a mopping-up and search operation.
“During the assault, the security personnel managed to fire a shot at his assailant. However, no major injuries suffered by our man," Hamza said.
The security forces team then arrested two women, aged 45 and 30. They turned out to be the slain aide's wife and daughter.
Hamza said the two women did not have valid travel documents and are detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
Four men were also arrested during the operation, Hamza said.
He said Malaysian security forces had so far killed 68 suspected Kiram followers and arrested 121 under Sosma.