A purported wanted poster - which shows Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his brother Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram - in Malaysia.
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 21, 2013) – Malaysian security forces killed two followers of the Sultanate of Sulu and captured a female member in separate clashes in Sabah’s Lahad Datu town.
Malaysian authorities said one of its soldiers was also wounded in the fighting that erupted Wednesday in the village called Tanjung Batu where security forces are pursuing the sultan’s men.
The identities of those slain in the fighting since hostilities began this month remain unknown, although Malaysia initially said that one of those killed was General Musa Abdulla, of the Royal Sulu Army.
It said there were two clashes in the village – one at 11.30 a.m. and the other at around 2 p.m. – and the operations are still going on in an effort to flush about 50 remaining followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram.
The ailing 74-year old self-proclaimed sultan sent about 200 followers - headed by his brother Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram - on February to Sabah to exert their claim and historical rights over the island, which is also being claimed by Malaysia.
More than 60 of the sultan’s men had been killed and over 300 Filipinos arrested on suspicion they were supporting or aiding the group of Raja Muda Agbimuddin.
Malaysia has put Sultan Jamalul and his brother on its wanted list and branded them as terrorists for intruding into Sabah and killing and decapitating 10 policemen and soldiers in separate clashes on the island.
It is also investigating reports that somebody was financing Sultan Jamalul to destabilize Sabah ahead of elections this year.
The Philippines, which is also holding its midterm polls in May, has began a probe into the same reports and pointed to political opposition and former Muslim rebels, opposed to the peace talks being brokered by Malaysia, as behind the destabilization efforts aimed at derailing the government negotiations with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
There were also reports that several Malaysians allegedly met with Sultan Jamalul prior to the Sabah intrusion, but it was not immediately known whether the meeting had anything to do with the destabilization or not.
Sultan Jamalul has recently bared an assassination plot by a Malaysian group to kill him and other personalities tied to the Sultanate of Sulu for a still unknown reason, but President Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda branded the report as “tall tales.”
“This is getting ridiculous and every day they are coming out with tall tales. People should stop listening to tall tales,” Lacierda said, adding Philippine authorities have no reports about the slay plot. (Mindanao Examiner)