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Cop killed in Semporna, another injured in gunfight with militants

Special police force guard the area about 3km away from the
location where armed men are holding off, outside
Lahad Datu February 19, 2013. — Reuters file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — A policeman was killed and another injured in a shootout with armed militants in Kampung Selamat, Semporna, last night after police said two others were wounded in a gunfight in nearby Pulau Simunul, three weeks after Filipino militants made an incursion into Sabah.
These incidents around Semporna are 150km away from Lahad Datu where there is still a tense standoff between Malaysian security forces and Filipino militants a day after 14 people were killed in a shootout.
State news agency Bernama reported that the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, confirmed the incident but refused to comment further.
The news agency said the firefight began at 8pm, adding the Lahad Datu and Tawau Police Special Investigation Divisions have been deployed to the scene.
On Friday, two police commandos were killed, while three others were injured in a shootout with the armed intruders in Kampung Tandou in Lahad Datu.
Twelve of the armed intruders were also killed in the gunfight.
Sabah police chief Datuk Hamzah Taib said a team of 40 policeman had gone to the island in search of several people after receiving reports that they possessed firearms.
“The policemen entered the village and were walking on the stilt boardwalk when they were fired upon and two of our men were injured,” Hamzah said as fear gripped people in Semporna and Tawau that a group of gunmen had attacked security forces.
Hamzah said that follow-up operations are ongoing but no arrests have been made.
“For now, we believe it is unrelated to the situation in Lahad Datu,” he said.
He denied that any police station had been attacked, after rumours of the gunfight spread through word of mouth and went viral on social network sites.
A police officer at the Semporna district headquarters told The Malaysian Insiderthe officer in charge was in a meeting with the military and declined to disclose further information.
In the PDRM social website, Ismail confirmed the shooting incident in Kampung Sri Jaya Siminul, Semporna.
He said the incident followed a police inspection in the area.
“Police, however, have yet to ascertain the actual number of those involved in the incident. It is believed that the number is not more than 10,” he said.
A Filipino Muslim clan claiming royal lineage from the Sulu sultanate had intruded into Sabah on February 9 staking ownership over parts of the Borneo state.
The armed group number some 200 people and insist they will not surrender their claim to the land, despite entreaties from the Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.
Putrajaya, which had earlier attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the gunmen, have warned they will not hesitate to use violence against the group to get them to leave Sabah.

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