From the Star Online (Oct 31): Two gunned down by cops in Penampang believed to be Sulu army recruiters
KUALA LUMPUR: Two men shot dead by police in the vicinity of a shophouse in Penampang Baru, Sabah Thursday evening are suspected to be members of the Sulu Rebel Army and the "driving force" behind the recruitment of new members.
Initial police investigations revealed that the duo, in their 30s and 50s, had arrived from Kota Kinabalu and attempted an armed robbery in the area.
In the 5pm incident, a police team intercepted a vehicle in which the two men were travelling. At that juncture, the duo tried to resist and the police were forced to open fire, killing them on the spot.
According to a police source, police surveillance on the two men about a few weeks ago had revealed that they tried to recruit new members, spread the so-called Sulu Sultanate ideology in Sabah, as well as preached elements of violence.
"The suspects, who came from Kota Kinabalu, were also attempting to commit an armed robbery in the area.
"The police are now tracking down the remnants of this group and they are also believed to be getting active off the east coast of Sabah," he said when contacted.
In February last year, the country was stunned when armed Sulu rebels from southern Philippines intruded into Lahad Datu and Semporna in Sabah's east coast, which saw 10 members of the national security forces killed.
However, through a joint army and police operation, dubbed Operasi Daulat, the rebels were routed. More than 100 rebels were killed and hundreds of their followers captured in the state.
Following the incident, the Government set up a security shield to thwart violations, kidnapping and smuggling in Sabah, named Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone) and Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command).
Meanwhile in Penampang, residents panicked when they heard gunshots in the business district of Penampang Baru.
A man in his 30s, who declined to be identified, said he was busy at work in a food store when he heard a loud thud.
"I rushed out of the shop and saw a group of armed men wearing ski-masks and firing shots in the direction of some occupants in a four-wheel drive vehicle," he said.
The food store employee, who was hiding in the vicinity, said he also spotted a group of policemen arriving at the scene about 15 minutes later and inspecting the bodies of two men who were earlier, gunned down in the vehicle.
He said he also saw the police take the bodies away in two black plastic bags.
A survey found that the police had cordoned off two business blocks to prevent the public from entering the area. – Bernama
In a four-page declaration issued here during the three-day Mindanao Cluster Island Conference, the mayors pledged to “do away with ethnic pride and prejudice” in the pursuit of lasting peace.
They said the planned Bangsamoro region would “transform the island into a land of peace and opportunity without conflict, hunger and suffering.”
The mayors also issued several resolutions, including one that endorsed the Mindanao Development Corridors Program.
League of Municipalities of the Philippines president Sandy Javier described the program as “a key strategy that would build infrastructure and spur the development of growth clusters to achieve balanced and inclusive growth.”
At the hearing of the ad hoc committee on the proposed law at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, retired Supreme Court associate justice Adolfo Azcuna maintained that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is not unconstitutional.
“Bangsamoro is an attempt to redress long historical imbalances,” he said.
“ It’s a valid provision because (it clarifies that) there is no dismemberment of the country involved,” Azcuna added.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, reiterated his nation’s support for the Mindanao peace process.