From InterAksyon (Mar 8): Kiram camp denies 32 more killed in Sabah, says Raja Muda group on the move
The followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in Sabah's Lahad Datu town, led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, have managed to regrouped despite continuous assault by Malaysian forces, according to the spokesman of the sultanate.
Abraham Idjirani said they last spoke to Raja Muda at 2:30 p.m., Friday. He said the crown prince told him that although his men were suffering from hunger, they managed to reassemble and were again on the move.
Idjirani also denied 32 more followers of the Sulu sultanate were killed in Wednesday's assault by Malaysian forces. He maintained that only 10 people died from their side, while four others were hurt, and 10 more were captured by Malaysian authorities.
He said the 10 died not due to assaults but through an encounter between the Royal Sulu Army and Malaysian forces.
"Isang beses lang ang engkwentro ng Royal Security Force with Malaysian police and military.Maliban do'n wala na [The Royal Security Force's encounter with Malaysian police and military was only once]. They perpetrated these acts of atrocities. Surely they are now resorting to attacking innocent and helpless civilians," Idjirani told reporters.
He also denied reports that the Sulu Army's general, Haji Musa, was killed by Malaysian forces.
"As per verification conveyed to us by relatives of Haji Musa, he is well and alive," Idjirani said.
He said Raja Muda and his men were maintaining a defensive stance despite Malaysia's rejection of a ceasefire.
Idjirani added that Raja Muda and his men only wanted to live peacefully in Sabah.
Malaysiakini.com reported that the remaining followers of the sultanate were believed to have gone into hiding in locations within the Ops Daulat area.
"We believe what is left of the enemy is in hiding in certain locations," Malaysia Armed Forces chief Gen Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said at a press conference at Felda Residence Sahabat Friday evening.
Security forces that have been scouring three areas in Lahad Datu - Kampung Tanduo, Tanjung Batu and Tanjung Labian - have not engaged with any enemy in the last 24 hours, he said.
However, Zulkifeli said the Filipinos had yet to show any signal that they were willing to surrender.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar said the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 was invoked in the arrest of more than 50 people throughout Sabah suspected of being linked to the followers of the Sulu sultanate.
"They were arrested outside the operations area, throughout Sabah, to facilitate investigations because we believe they are linked to these intruders.
"They were arrested under the the new Sosma law, which is read together with the Penal Code," Ismail said.
On Friday morning, Sabah Commissioner of Police Hamza Taib said 79 suspects had been arrested, all of them outside the operations area, since February 12, with the exception of three who tried to escape from the Kampung Tanduo cordon on the night of March 2.
Ismail said the individuals included men and women, but he would not confirm if they were Suluks or had Malaysian identity cards.
"I cannot give more information because it will compromise our investigations," he said.
Asked about Manila's request to send a humanitarian team to assess the conflict situation in Lahad Datu, Ismail said the Philippines had yet to make a formal request.
"We have not received it through our government's official channels, nor have we been informed by Wisma Putera," he said.