Lahat Datu: Evacuee loses baby son while police question wife

Hoping for the best: Residents of Tanjung Batu reciting a prayer at the evacuation centre in Felda Sahabat.

LAHAD DATU: With his hands stretched out, Syahrin Yakub said a quiet prayer during a tahlil session for his seven-month-old son Mohamad Ridwan who died on Wednesday.

His youngest child died on the way to Kunak hospital after suffering a bout of diarrhoea and high fever.

The tahlil was held in the Cendarawasih community hall within the Felda Sahabat area where the family has been staying since the intrusion by Sulu gunmen.

Besides grieving for his son. Syahrin is worried about his wife Mariammah Mohamad who was asked by police to give a statement at the Lahad Datu police station and had been there since March 5.

"She didn't have a chance to say goodbye to our son.

"Our three children are longing for their mother and I can't understand why it takes so long for police to get a statement from her,'' said the oil palm smallholder.

Their quiet lives at the isolated village, some 160km from this east coast town, was suddenly disrupted by the appearance of gunmen on Feb 9.

Three days later, they were advised to leave their homes for their safety.

With his two-year-old 2.4ha of oil palm trees fruiting, Syahrin reluctantly took his family to his cousin's house in Kg Tanjung Labian to wait out the standoff between the Sulu gunmen and security forces.

Upon hearing of the aerial bombing of his village when the offensive against the armed group began on Tuesday, Syahrin is now worried about his house too.

"I am thankful that my family managed to get out from our kampung safely,'' he said.

When intruders suddenly appeared at Kg Tanjung Batu -located just next to Kg Tanjung Labian - on Sunday, Syahrin once again had to move with his family to the hall.

"I don't know what to say. I am grieving for my son, worried for my wife and I don't know what has happened to our house,'' he said.

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