DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur—Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Wednesday confirmed the recovery of the bodies of 13 “terrorists” following Tuesday’s air strikes and artillery against armed followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III holed up in an encampment in Lahad Datu in Sabah.
Speaking during a press conference aired by a Sabah-based radio station, whose broadcast was monitored here, Ahmad said the bodies were found in a hastily dug grave near Ground Zero in Tanduo by security forces conducting mopping up operations on Wednesday.
Ahmad said the Malaysian government believes that the fleeing members of the Sulu “royal army” had dug the grave in the aftermath of Tuesday’s offensive, which has since been renamed Ops Daulat (sovereignty) from Ops Sulu.
He said the remaining Sulu gunmen in Tanduo even harassed security forces trying to retrieve the bodies by firing shots at them, although nobody was harmed.
“This is a picture of a grave where the bodies were buried by the terrorists,” Ahmad said, while apparently showing a photo to reporters.