Following the incident, which occurred at 2.15 am, police conducted an operation in several water villages here at about 10 am and arrested seven men and two women in the 30s and 40s to help in the investigation, ESSCom commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said.
He also said that the police were looking for six men in the 30s and 40s to help in the investigation.
“They are identified to be Badong, Bocai, Wahab, Ali, Nilson and Alex. Anyone who has information pertaining to them can contact ESSCom at 089-863181 or any police station,” he told a press conference here.
Elaborating on the incident, Abdul Rashid said a patrol team came across a blue boat with red lines with a man on board in the Bangau Bangau waters.
“When the police vessel approached the boat, the man began to speed off but the police gave chase. The man fired at the police and the police returned fire,” he said.
After the shootout, the police drew alongside the boat and found a man lying on it, bleeding, he said, adding that closer examination indicated that he was dead.
Abdul Rashid said police recovered a pistol with three rounds of ammunition in it and two bullet shells.
“No identification papers were found. The man is believed to have been in his 40s,” he said.
The body was sent to the Semporna Hospital and an examination showed four bullet wounds at the back of the head and a wound on the forehead, he said.
Abdul Rashid said two bullet marks were detected on the police patrol vessel. However, none of the policemen were injured, he added.
In KOTA KINABALU, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman expressed appreciation for the swift action by the security forces in handling the situation.
He advised the people of Semporna to remain calm, saying the situation was under control.
“What is important is that there must be cooperation and support (for the security forces) from the people in the area (Semporna),” he told reporters at the Sabah MIC Deepavali open house.