SOME residents in Tanjung Kling, Malacca were shocked beyond disbelief when they witnessed a well-known apartment hotel raided by soldiers recently.
However, their shock turned to relief when they found out that it was merely part of a two-week joint anti-terror military exercise involving Special Forces soldiers from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and Indonesia’s National Army (TNI).
The event was held to beef up regional security of both nations in combating terrorist threat along the Straits of Malacca.
Some 1,243 ATM and 452 TNI special forces personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force of both countries as well as the police participated in the event.
The highlight of the exercise was a 90-minute demonstration where soldiers regained control of a vessel held by terrorists.
Several apartments which were used by the ‘terrorists’ were also raided in the exercise.
It was a sight to behold when three helicopters flew low towards the terrorist-held vessel about 1km off shore while special forces personnel in fast-moving dinghies made their way to the side of the ship.
After securing the vessel, several helicopters carrying soldiers dressed in black combat fatigue headed for the apartment hotel along the coast where they courageously abseiled from the helicopters onto the roof top.
The soldiers blasted their way into several apartments to rescue the hostages. Several short bursts of gun fire were heard with the terrorist either ‘shot dead’ or captured.
Other than the rescue operations, the exercise also saw both army personnel working together for the first time in handling chemical, biological and nuclear attacks including radiation injuries from nuclear fallout.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was present for the closing ceremony, said the armed forces of both countries had been sharing close ties and cooperation with regard to security matters over the past several decades.
“The joint military exercise known as Malindo (Malaysia and Indonesia), which was initiated in 1983, is a good example of the close bonds shared between the both countries.
“Although this is the seventh time we are holding the Malindo joint exercise, this is the first time where the special forces of all three military branches are training together in combating terrorism,” he added.
Indonesian defense minister Prof Dr Purnomo Yugisantoro, who was also present at the exercise, lauded the continued strong military links between the two countries.
In an era of global threat of terrorism, he said it was a wise move for both countries to join hands to combat the menace rather than each fighting them on their own.
The exercise, he added, would allow the security forces of both countries to improve their intelligence sharing and networking as well as effectiveness in joint anti-terrorism operations.
Besides familiarising themselves with the use of different equipment and tactics, the army personnel of various ranks also used the opportunity to strengthen their people-to-people contact via the joint exercise.
(Source : www.thestar.com.my - metro - 05/05/2010)