PETALING JAYA, Malaysia—The Sultanate of Sulu is seeking a ceasefire with Malaysian armed forces in Lahad Datu, Sabah, saying that the group of Filipino gunmen need time to bury their dead.
“Malaysia is a Muslim nation so they should understand that we need to bury our dead,” said Abraham Idjirani, secretary-general of the Sulu Sultanate and spokesman for Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
“I hope Malaysia will reconsider its position,” he said in a telephone interview from Manila on Friday.
Idjirani said that of the 235 people composing the group, 10 were shot dead by Malaysian armed forces.
Of the 10 dead, one was a woman, he said, adding that four were wounded.
The group, holed up in the seaside village of Tanduo, is led by Jamalul’s brother, Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram.
Idjirani said Azzimudie intended to hold on to his position as their purpose for storming Tanduo — to live in peace and have the Malaysian government recognize their ownership of the state —remained the same.
He also claimed that the Malaysian forces had attempted to dig their way in to the area at around 6 a.m. Thursday but soon withdrew.
The shooting began at 10.30 a.m.