HC Deb 24 April 1963 vol 676 cc32-3W
53. Mr. Healey

asked the Minister of Defence if he will make a statement on recent action by Her Majesty's Forces in North Borneo.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Her Majesty's Forces have recently been acting in aid of the civil authorities in Sarawak and Brunei.

At the request of the Governor of Sarawak, Her Majesty's Forces have been assisting there in an operation which started on 19th April, and which is aimed at collecting in all weapons and ammunition at present in the hands of, or available to, the Chinese Communists.

To assist in the rapid conduct of this operation, the following reinforcements were sent from Singapore:

  • 40 Commando Royal Marines;
  • 2/10 Gurkha Rifles;
  • One Coy. 42 Commando, Royal Marines.
The latest information on the operation is that the collection of arms is proceeding without incident and that over three-quarters of the registered weapons (mostly shotguns) in non-native hands have been taken in. Co-operation has been generally good.

These reinforcements of British troops are also linked to the need to strengthen security measures on the border where, in two incidents, armed men have attacked isolated sections of the security forces and then withdrawn towards the border.

In Brunei intensive search for the remaining rebel leaders continues. During the night of 17th-18th April, the brother of Azahari, the instigator of the revolt, was captured wounded and has since died. One British officer was killed in this operation.