From Tempo (Jun 19): Fresh fighting in Sabah
Fighting broke out anew Monday in Lahad Datu, Sabah, between the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and patrolling Malaysian security forces.
The sultanate’s spokesman, engineer Abraham J. Idjirani, relayed this yesterday.
“There was a new ﬁghting in Dangan Tunko, Lahad Datu, at about 1 p.m. Monday,” he said.
Rajah Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and some 510 of his men encountered an undetermined number of patrolling Malaysian forces, triggering the ﬁreﬁght, said Idjirani.
“Rajah muda phoned me at about 7 p.m. on Monday and informed the sultanate about the fresh fighting,“ Idjirani, the sultanate’s secretary-general and a brother-in-law of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said.
It was a “big encounter,“ he quoted rajah muda, involving 166 Royal Security Force (RSF) members aided by 350 volunteers from Sulu Peninsula and the Malaysian forces.
The fighting erupted within a palm oil plantation in Dangan Tunko, he said.
He said rajah muda did not say if there were fatalities, or wounded from either side.
Idjirani said the rajah muda only gave sketchy details in his few min utes of call to avoid detection by the government of Malaysia.
It could be recalled that rajah muda and 235 RSF men sailed to Sabah in Febuary this year to press the sultanate’s historical claim over the oil-rich territory.
The heirs of the Sulu sultanate today said they still owns Sabah, the former North Borneo, which their forbears ceded to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.
Idjirani said the incident, supposed to be a heavy ﬁghting, because most of rajah muda’s ﬁghters were armed, stopped when the Malaysians reportedly “pulled out.”