Leader of Malaysia incursion has fled, reports claim

The leader of a band of Filipino militants whose incursion in Malaysia has left scores dead has reportedly fled even as his own family insist he is still in the country.

More than 200 followers of a self-proclaimed Filipino sultan entered Sabah on Borneo island a month ago to resurrect long-dormant land claims by Jamalul Kiram III.

Malaysian forces launched a military assault on March 5 against the group, sending them fleeing from a farming village where they had been holed up.

Armed Forces chief Zulkifeli Zin said intelligence reports showed that Agbimuddin Kiram, whose family says is the crown prince of the Sulu sultanate, had managed to evade security forces and slip out of Malaysia.

"(He) has abandoned his men and fled to his homeland," Zulkifeli was quoted by local media as saying late Friday.

But his family has denied the man, the younger brother of the self-styled sultan, had left Malaysia.

When asked about the armed forces chief's comments, the clan's Manila spokesman Abraham Idjirani told AFP: "That's not true."

The New Straits Times reported that Kiram is believed to have slipped out of the farming area, surrounded by Malaysian security forces, by blending in with the local population before the military attack earlier this month.

According to the latest police figures, 61 suspected militants have been killed in Malaysia's biggest security crisis in years. Eight police officers and a soldier have also died.

Authorities have arrested more than 100 people on suspicion of having links to the militants.

The Philippines navy said on Wednesday it had detained 35 suspected Filipino militants as they tried to sail home. The group reportedly did not include Kiram.

A total of 800,000 Filipinos live in Sabah, making up about a quarter of the population of the state, which is just a short boat ride from the southern Philippines.

The crisis has embarrassed the Philippines and Malaysia, shining the spotlight on the latter's porous shoreline and locals' complaints of rampant illegal immigration and lawlessness.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • The other side of Palawan Ellen Tordesillas, Contributor - The Inbox
    The other side of Palawan

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas Mention Palawan and what comes to mind are  Underground River and El Nido in the northern side of this richly-blessed province from its capital, Puerto Princesa. Three  weeks ago, we went to the southern side- in … Continue reading → …

  • What can void a new car warranty? James Deakin - Wheel Power
    What can void a new car warranty?

    "I was denied warranty once for changing my horn!" One very annoyed reader wrote. "I was told that placing a backup camera will void my warranty" said another. The others are best left in my private inbox as Yahoo! have a swear jar in the office that I do not feel like donating this week's pay to. Continue reading → …

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena, VERA Files "Gutom (hunger)," Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of the country's marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Natural … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options