Posted: 04 Mar 2013 11:24 AM PST
Alexander Chen, The Borneo Insider
SEMPORNA: Reports reaching The Borneo Insider suggest that at least three of the policemen killed in Semporna after clashes with an armed group, were tortured and their bodies mutilated. One was also beheaded.
However, the bodies of three others, who were believed to have died after being hit by the crossfire, were left untouched.
A group of 19 policemen, who were in the raiding party at Simunul on Saturday night, who were initially reported "missing" and then "trapped" was probably held hostage by the gunmen at several houses in the area.
They were said to have been relieved of their guns as well as hand phones. This group too was left unharmed, though at least one of them suffered wounds, probably in the Saturday night shoot-out.
But police are not willing to confirm anything, especially the torture and mutilation of the three policemen, except say that the 19 others who were initially "trapped" had been released unharmed.
On Saturday, armed intruders were initially spotted at Lorong 4 and Lorong 5 in Simunul, a cluster of water villages, comprising mainly Suluk and Tausug people, with or without Malaysian documents.
Police were called in and about 50 policemen were said to have walked into an ambush where a shootout also took place.
On Sunday, police said six policemen and six armed men were killed in the shootout.
On Monday, the bodies of three of the gunmen were still seen at various places in Simunul while there was no sight of the other three bodies.
It was only after 1.00pm Monday that some 30 residents of Kampung Simunul took the initiative to remove the bodies of the three intruders and handed it over to the authorities.
Village headman Ramli Saraman said they had to remove the bodies because the stench had become unbearable.
Ramli advised the villagers not to believe rumours spread by irresponsible people because they could worsen the situation.
"I was told by villagers that the intruders will burn down Simunul but I told them not to believe as I keep in touch with the police."
He said villagers are not compelled to evacuate their homes because it is their right as individuals adding peace has returned to the kampung.
Later, when met by reporters, some Simunul villagers sad they were horrified on hearing that one of six dead police personnel was beheaded and two others were tortured.
"It is against our religion to behead anyone. It is terrible, it's cruel,'' said fisherman Azmi who has been living close to Lorong 5, Simunul where the shooting began.
"We are Suluks living here for more than 50 years. They (armed men) are bad people ,'' said a woman who was referring to the gunmen.
Their sentiments were shared by other villagers who claimed that they have also heard that one of the gunmen had recorded the beheading on his mobile phone and had sent a clip to the police.
However, no confirmation was available on the phone clip or the torture of the three who had gone with a team of 56 to check out information that Sulu Sultan sympathisers had stored weapons in one of the stilt houses.
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