Children continue to be pillars of strength for widows of Tanduo tragedy

— For the widows of the Malaysian heroes who died in the bloody tragedy in Tanduo eight years ago, it is their children who continue to be a source of strength for them to get on with their lives, especially during Ramadan.

Sharing her story on the incident that occurred in 2013, Marlina Utan, 47, the widow of Sarjan Salam Togiran, said her four children, aged between 10 and 24, continued to be her pillar of strength after her husband’s unexpected demise.

The tragedy has left a deep emotional scar on her and she’s still undergoing treatment at one of the government hospitals here for anxiety attacks, panic disorder and depression.

“We moved here from Tawau in 2016 to seek solace and I wanted to recover from the ordeal. Alhamdulillah, I am getting better… I can still recall my husband being very fond of breaking fast with fried noodles and tea.

“I still feel the emptiness, especially when Ramadan comes around. Often, on his birthday, I’d dream of him,” she said when met by reporters at her home in Taman Kingfisher here, today.

Sumiati Suarah, 59, the widow of Sergeant Major Baharin Amit, also admitted that her two children, aged 19 and 20, have been her tower of strength after her husband’s death, more so now that she’s stricken with various ailments.

She said that when her husband was alive, she underwent five operations and during that period he would often help with the chores upon his return from work.

“My late husband would often sweep the floor in his usual loud manner. But now it is quiet… I don’t hear his voice anymore,” she said while expressing her appreciation to the authorities for remembering his sacrifices.

Earlier, Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) chief executive officer Dr Jamaluddin Mohd Ali visited the homes of the widows under a programme to care for the widows and next-of-kins of the national heroes who died in the Tanduo incident.

The late Salam and Baharin were among six policemen who were killed in an ambush in Kampung Sri Jaya, Simunul in Semporna on March 2, 2013. The incident took place a day after two policemen were also killed in a shootout in Kampung Tanduo.

The incidents occurred after talks to end an intrusion failed after a group of armed men from the southern Philippines landed in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu on Feb 11, 2013 to lay claim to Sabah on behalf of the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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