Kunak shootout: MMEA personnel loses sight in left eye to bullet wound

Kunak shootout: MMEA personnel loses sight in left eye to bullet wound

TAWAU: A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel, who was shot in the eye in a shootout in the Kunak waters, yesterday, has lost sight in his left eye.

MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Hamid Mohd Amin said that Maritime Petty Officer Zainal Abad Komel (pix), 45, was blind in one eye due to a bullet hitting the nerve of the eye.

“The surgery was performed at Tawau Hospital yesterday; the procedure to remove the bullet took about two hours, the bullet was successfully removed and he is in stable condition.

“However, due to the incident, the doctor confirmed that he would be blind in one eye as the bullet hit the eye nerve, and he has lost one eye permanently. This is a very serious incident for us; he will be in the hospital for a week for observation, once it’s okay he will be discharged,” he told reporters, after visiting Zainal at Tawau Hospital, here today.

Yesterday, the media reported that two MMEA personnel who were on the Ops Pagar Laut Khas operation, along with four others, were shot and wounded after approaching a boat to conduct an inspection, when four shots were fired from the boat.

In the 8.40 am incident, at 0.2 nautical miles northeast of Kampung Pangi in Kunak, Zainal was injured in the left eye while Maritime Leading Rate Prayrie De Cuella Jimin, 35, was injured in both hands.

Hamid said that every member of the security forces who was injured while on duty to maintain security, will be given appropriate compensation and other assistance which can be channelled.

Meanwhile, Hamid said that, after the shooting, the suspects’ boat was seen speeding towards the Semporna sector, and the investigation also found that all the suspects were previously at Suba Duyung and Batik Parang for cross-border criminal activities, namely smuggling.

“The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) also identified the suspects; now we join forces with the PDRM and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to track down the suspects, among the assets involved are the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) which is from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and Joint Task Force 2 ( ATB2), involving two royal vessels and 21 boats.

“In addition, the PDRM also mobilised assets from all parts, involving five ships and 26 patrol boats and combat boats, while MMEA mobilised four maritime ships, in addition to 15 patrol boats and combat boats; our current focus involves Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna to Tawau,” he said.

Meanwhile, ESSCOM has identified one of the three male suspects involved in the shootout yesterday as being on the agency’s wanted list.

Its commander, Datuk Victor Sanjos, said that the identified suspect was confirmed by an eyewitness, who was also an officer involved in an incident where maritime personnel exchanged fire with criminals in Kunak waters.

“Those on this wanted list are not citizens, we have identified them because of that; efforts to track and make arrests are underway, we are gathering all assets to work and track all the suspects involved,” he told reporters at Tawau Hospital to visit Zainal.

In the meantime, Victor said the identities of the other two suspects have not yet been confirmed.

He also said that his team combined expertise with MMEA and PDRM to track down all the suspects.


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