MANILA, Philippines – The members of the Sulu “royal army” are continuously on the move and are masquerading as local residents, according to Malaysian police.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar was quoted by Malaysian media as saying that they have widened the area that they have cordoned off because they have monitored the movement of some suspected members of the group in certain areas.
Police had initially cordoned off a four kilometer radius around Tanduao village in Lahad Datu, Sabah after the estimated 200 members of the group, led by Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram, could not be found despite the air and ground assault Tuesday morning.
“The operations went according to plan and until now, there is no casualty from the police or army,” Omar was quoted as saying by Malaysia’s The Star.
Police were still conducting house-to-house search operations for the members of the group.
Omar had also urged the public, as well as Malaysian media, to stay away from the cordoned area, according to The Star.
The Sulu “royal army” sailed to Sabah February 9 to reclaim what they say was their rightful territory. The intrusion has led to a tense standoff and failed negotiations between both sides before the eventual assault of Malaysian security forces.