Malaysian troops hunt sultan’s men; 13 bodies dug up


CAUGHT IN DRAGNET Malaysian policemen guard a suspect Filipino intruder outside a village in Semporna, Malaysia, on Wednesday. Malaysian security forces on Wednesday battled a group of Filipino intruders in the rugged terrain of Borneo after they escaped a military assault with fighter jets and mortar fire on their hideout, police said. One Filipino was shot and believed killed. AP PHOTO

LAHAD DATU, Sabah—Malaysian troops were scouring an area 4 square kilometers at Tanduao village here for armed followers of the sultan of Sulu who were routed in an air and ground assault 12 hours earlier and fled to the jungles of Sabah.

Air strikes and heavy artillery fire on Tuesday flushed out the armed group led by Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, after a 23-day standoff in Tanduao village here.

Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the bodies of 13 men from Agbimuddin’s group were recovered after Tuesday’s air strikes and artillery attack, bringing to 40 the number of people killed in the Sabah fighting.

Speaking at a news conference, Ahmad said the bodies were found in hastily dug graves near ground zero in Tanduao by security forces conducting mopping up operations on Wednesday.

Ahmad said the government believed the fleeing Sulu group had dug the graves in the aftermath of the offensive, which has been named “Ops Daulat” (Operation Sovereignty).

Eight Malaysian policemen were among the 40 people killed since violence erupted in the Tanduao standoff on March 1.

According to Kiram, four police officials were captured by his group during an attack on a police station in Semporna town on Saturday night, but reports about that incident identified the attackers as local supporters of the sultanate identified with Alianapia Kiram, brother of Jamalul, not the group led by Agbimuddin, which at the time was believed pinned down by police forces in the village of Tanduao in Lahad Datu town.

Jamalul said on Wednesday that his brother was alive and unhurt despite the assault launched by Malaysian forces on Tuesday.

The sultan said he managed to get in touch with Agbimuddin on Wednesday morning.

“They are doing OK. He said they were able to eat well despite being pursued. What can they do but fight back?” Jamalul told reporters in Manila.

“Bombs were dropped on them but with God’s mercy the bombs did not explode on them but on the Malaysian side,” he added.

In Lahad Datu, the Malaysian chief of police, Inspector General Ismail Omar, said on Wednesday there were “zero casualties” among the Malaysian security forces but he believed there were still “enemies” in the area.

“We hope they have not escaped,” Ismail said when asked about media reports from Manila quoting the Kiram family as saying Agbimuddin was alive.

The assault on Agbimuddin’s group, whose claimed number varied between 100 and 200, began at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Five F/A-18 Hornet and three Hawk 208 fighter jets dropped laser-guided bombs after which artillery bombardment took place to dislodge Agbimuddin’s group pinned down in a small area in Tanduao village after a fire fight with Malaysian police on March 1.

The Sulu group fled toward the jungle, chased by hundreds of Malaysian troops.

Police said there was sporadic fighting between the two groups on Wednesday and there were reports of one fighter from Agbimuddin’s group being killed.

Asked about the possibility of some of Agbimuddin’s men slipping through the security cordon around Lahad Datu, Ismail said, “I hope not.”

“I have ordered the commanders on the ground to be cautious. I do not want police or military casualties,” he said.

In Manila, Jamalul said Muslim Filipinos from Mindanao were going to Sabah to support his brother and his men who were under assault by Malaysian security forces.

Jamalul said, however, that it was not he who called for reinforcements for Agbimuddin’s group.

“They might accuse me of giving the order. You cannot blame the people for going there to help my brother. I cannot blame them,” Jamalul said.

MNLF reinforcements

Reports said battle-hardened Muslim guerrillas had sailed from Mindanao to reinforce Agbimuddin’s group.

It is not clear when the guerrillas left for Sabah, but the reports said the fighters were veteran members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which waged a decades-long insurgency against the government before signing a peace agreement with the administration of President Fidel Ramos in 1996.

The Philippine and Malaysian navies have thrown a joint blockade off Lahad Datu to prevent more forces from entering Sabah to support Agbimuddin.

There were reports that a force of 10,000 fighters from Mindanao have departed for Sabah, but Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez had no information to either confirm or deny those reports.

Hernandez said Philippine and Malaysian naval forces were closely guarding the border to prevent fresh groups from entering Sabah.

“From the Navy’s side, there are a number of ships there and they are monitoring the area jointly with the Malaysian Navy to make sure that some of the supporters of the group of Kiram will not make the situation worse,” Hernandez said.

But a spokesman for the MNLF, Muhajab Mashim, said on Wednesday that “[m]any had slipped through the security forces. They know the area like the back of their hands because they trained there in the past.”

“We are expecting more of them to join (the fighting) even if our official instruction is for them to refrain from going,” Hashim said.

He could not say how many MNLF fighters had managed to slip through naval cordons set up by the Philippines and Malaysia, but said “thousands” had earlier expressed interest in joining.

Hashim said that although MNLF leaders had not officially instructed their men to sail to Sabah, they fully supported the sultan’s efforts to reclaim the Malaysian state.

Sultan’s adherents

“MNLF fighters are adherents of the sultan, we are followers. So there is more than an alliance,” he said. “We feel very strongly against the attacks against our brothers from Sulu.”

Jamalul said he did not know whether his followers who were going to Sabah were armed.

He said his followers who styled themselves as the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” were not MNLF or Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters.

“(Fighters of) the MNLF, MILF might be going there, we cannot stop them. But to us, they cannot bring the name of the Moro National Liberation Front or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” he said.

Not asked for help

Jamalul said he did not ask for support from the MNLF, whose chairman, Nur Misuari, visited him on Tuesday.

“If they would help, that’s OK. Their help is welcome. [Misuari] just came to me as a visitor. We just met at the door,” he said.—Reports from Dona Z. Pazzibugan and Tarra Quismundo in Manila; Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao; AP, AFP, Reuters and The Star/Asia News Network

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  • Arnie Rossel

    Stop talking about impeachment. The will of the people is the will of God. Everybody knows the President did everything it he thought he could to end the violence although I did not agree to some extent. You should know Kiram was incited by his political opponents, he has reason to withhold the formal talk unless the insurgents withdraw from Malaysia. Also, it’s political suicide for senators to favor impeachment. You know how popular is the President. Sadly, you are not one of those who believe him but you are only a minority to the peace loving Filipinos.

  • Hey_Dudes

    King Kiram and his brother who is the general in this war said they will fight to the end.  But as soon as bombs fell, they disperse to save their skin.  Where are the trash talking cans of sardines in this forum who said tausugs will never run away from a fight?

    • Dawn Dare

      And you heard this latest rumor from?


        From Kiram in a press conference earlier today. Catch up Dawn.

      • Dawn Dare

        Stop stalking me. Do you see any “Follow me” signs on my forehead?


         No I saw the ‘I love Terrorists ‘ one though.

      • Dawn Dare

        And I see an “I’m a PNoy lapdog” on you.

    • Edgardo Mendoza

      they catch wrong! stupid dumm malaysian!

      • Blizz internet Cafe

        Jet fighters vs 300 men = gay actions…. hahahahaaha!!!
        Malaysian armed forces are afraid of one on one combat… hahahahaha!!! What a lousy soldier

      • rBanasig

         Malaysians are cowards and racist bastards. Mga anak ng mga putang ina nila.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


    • misuari playboy

      malaysia use our kiram pirates for F18 training…tsk

  • Karung

    Most of these Tausugs are lazy, they don’t want to develop their own land. They prefer easy money with the least effort, that’s why most of them become kidnappers, pirates, robbers, drug smugglers, fish bombers and any other illegal things you can name.

  • PurpleDaisy13

    Warriors of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are on their way to North Borneo (Sabah) to execute Malaysian Security Forces and help fight with their Filipino Warriors.


      That’s a lie. The MNLF tonight officially declared no one is going and they do NOT support Kiram.

      “The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) strongly condemns the violent acts committed by the terrorists who intruded into Lahad Datu and Semporna in Sabah, its present chairman Muslimin Sema said today.”

      “On Misuari’s statement recently that the MNLF was ready to send its armed fighters to Sabah to help the Sulu terrorists, Muslimin said, he was disappointed with the former MNLF leader. “His statement is uncalled for and irresponsible. Sabah and Malaysia are not our enemy,” he said.”

      • PurpleDaisy13

        2¢, would you like to give us links that dispute the following statement from above to prove your credibility?

        But a spokesman for the MNLF, Muhajab Mashim,
        said on Wednesday that “any had slipped through the security forces.
        They know the area like the back of their hands because they trained
        there in the past.”

        “We are expecting more of them to join (the
        fighting) even if our official instruction is for them to refrain from
        going,” Hashim said.


        ““The investigation by the central committee members in Tawi-Tawi and
        Sulu have found that no regular members of MNLF are involved in the
        Sabah intrusion. We are not involved in any kind of violence,” Muslimin – Chairman of MNLF.

        I think the chairman and the central committee outranks all others, don’t you?

      • PurpleDaisy13

        2¢, in other words, MNLF members who are on their way to North Borneo (Sabah) to execute Malaysian Security Forces and help fight with their Filipino Warriors shall not identify themselves as MNLF members:

        “If they committed the acts, it was done as an individual person as the MNLF never sanctioned their acts,” Muslimin – Chairman of MNLF.

        The effect shall conclude with the same results – harm and execution of Malaysian Security Forces.


         The misguided efforts of one or two terrorists, who are not regular members of MNLF as you inferred originally, cannot be discounted. But it’s a far cry from the 10 000 talked about only 2 days ago.

        If they do commit crimes they will be hunted down and they will pay for it. In this country all who encourage this will also pay the price.

      • PurpleDaisy13


        2¢, with Muslimin’s backdoor statement, there is no reason to deny that 10,000 Tuasug Warriors (not identified as MNLF) shall join the fight alongside their Filipino brothers against Malaysian Security Forces in North Borneo (Sabah) as clearly expressed by an MNLF spokesman with insider intelligence.

      • Matambaka

         Yes..they are not coming….why we tell you? so that you cant get ready…

        Beware….they are  already blended well with civilians.. they have no match in 7 batallion…10 batallion but an enemy can strike in a time you can’t expect…

        this is a long battle…it will not STOP by killing 300 Sulu Warriors now…

    • Sang Garudada

      I think they drowned half way because the boats they were on was too shabby and god’s will the ocean was unkind to them. we found bodies of filipino migrants around the shoreline of Sabah, maybe that could be them.

      • ofwme2807

         oh you’re not sure they are your malaysian command-dogs you hid from the press

  • jclarendo

    Pnay este Pnoy (my mistake) send your army to Sabah to help the Malaysian kill the Filipinos dahil yan ang trend mo ngayon instead of helping your people yu are helping our enemy

  • Matambaka

     Beware….they are  already blended well with civilians.. they have
    no match in 7 batallion…10 batallion but an enemy can strike in a time
    you can’t expect…

    this is a long battle…it will not STOP by killing 300 Sulu Warriors now…

    • 1asean

      That is really sad. It only could mean more tausugs and filipinos will be arrested in Sabah. 

  • Banana Na

    yan, para sa mga muslim sa mindanao, bakit ba tumutulong ang malaysia sa pag-training sa inyo sa sabah at nag-bibigay ng armas at pera para makipag-laban sa mindanao against the philippines, they deceives you para magulo ang mindanao or sulu para hindi maging develop ang lugar na yan, kasi pagna-develop ang lugar na yan at may pera na ang sulta of sulu ay sigurado matatakot ang malaysia kasi may pera na kayo, pwede kayo mag-file ng complain sa UN but kailangan mo gumastos sa trips at mga lawyers at sa pagkain  mo sa UN at may pera na kayo ay pwede na rin kayo bumili ng armas at re-claim ang sabah…decades na yan kaya ang gulo ng mindanao at hindi nagiging develop dahil sa sulsul ng malaysia sa inyo para ang GULO ay sa pilipinas lang na ang name ay MINDANAO…KARMA din yan sa MALAYSIA country….

  • JacqMike77

    So much ignorance hate here & so called hoo hah from people who spend their time behind the keyboards. Its good to have freedom of speech but many seems to miss the point.

    1. No matter what claim Phillipine or Sulu had, Sabah by way of rights of self determination had chosen to be in the Malaysian Federation. You can say there are some fraudulent involve in Cobbold Commission but lets just ask the present Sabahan. If they are to use the rights of self determination again, they will choose to either be an independence state or remain in the Malaysia Federation.

    2. The claims of the Sulu Sultanate is actually just half of North Borneo, which was given by the Sultan of Brunei as a thank you for their help hundreds of years ago.

    3. Kiram is a fake Sultan.

    4. They came to a country saying they intend to stay in their own homeland bearing guns and bringing militants. I don’t know about Philllipine culture but I’m quite sure you don’t bring M16 back home to show it to your grandmother.

    5. Kiram actions had nothing to do with Phillipine. Its for their own selfish demands.

    6. Phillipine government is the one that denounced the Sulu Sultanate in the first place years ago.

    7. Sabahan Suluk or Sabahan Tausugs does not support the invasion or the Sulu Sultanate.

    8. Though its true that the Sulu Tausugs are hardened guerilla fighters but you have to remember that the Malaysian army and police are internationally recognized and had served UN in Bosnia, Thailand, Afghanistan and many other peacekeeping efforts. They are highly trained. So why used a fighter plane? Because the area had been evacuated & the only people left are the invaders. This is to smoke them out without further casualties on the soldiers and police force. We love our warriors and even one death are mourned by many. Who mourn your Tausug guerilla? Not even Kiram will bother.

    9. No matter what supporters of Kiram said, you can’t ignore the fact that many Pinoys worked in Malaysia to earn a decent living for their families back home. We have no problem with that. But Kiram action caused employers to view their current employees with distrust. Many Pinoys had lost their jobs and deported back. Why are you guys still supporting Kiram? Do you think he even bothered about Phillipine?

    10. Sabahan, Sarawakian (like me), Peninsular Malaysian are united in praying for peace in Sabah and united in calling ourselves Malaysian. Kiram, never even once mentioned that he is a Pinoy or Fillipino,he always called himself the Sultan of Sulu. Who are you guys supporting actually?

    • ofwme2807

       hey flirting malaysian lady looking for company and romance with macho and good-looking Filipinos???…sorry but sorry we don’t like Malaysian ladies…

      • desi derata

        Your comment is inappropriate.

      • JacqMike77

        Thank you.

      • Mao Mao Chamn

        you two are lovers?

      • JacqMike77

        Why? Are you jealous?

      • JacqMike77

        No thank you. I prefer taller men with good sense. 

    • isalexus

      Sound like coming from a paid hack!

      • JacqMike77


    • Mao Mao Chamn

      I will support you….and your fellow Sarawakian…..and the Free Aceh Movement…….when the KONFRONTASI PART 2 happens…..between Indonesia and Malaysia…….because Sarawak belongs to Indonesia……you can count on my help on this……..hugs and kisses – from China with love.

      • JacqMike77

        lol! Indonesia can’t even handle Kalimantan. And we have good relation with Kalimantan people. Dude, you really need to go to Borneo to understand our way of life.

    • pepito gwaps

      They are peace loving people too. They bring guns with them for their own protection because of their belief that they own the land of Sabah and illegal settlers could harm them and if they are terrorists they would take many hostages as many as they can before your armed forces respond. They came there to voice out grievances. Yeah that is their culture to bring guns with them due to many battles they have fought since colonial times but they are not terrorists. So why are you using fighter plane? Is it right to use an elephant to kill an ant? Only cowards and brainless people are doing that.

    • Mamang Pulis

      Good argument.

    • Mamang Pulis

      May I reply to your post as objectively as I can :

      In their view -They got legitimate grievances and I totally agree that their method is a grievous tactical error,  an act of desperation, goaded by years of neglect, greed & political opportunist.   

      If their mission is beyond ‘dying’—they sure did accomplished their objective..100% .  I leave it up to you how you will assume those targets are—you seem to be an ‘expert’ on military adventurism

  • sl1

    Malaysian gov’t should have extended more time to settle the issue than using force that came to this situation. There is nothing to loose but only time, but if peace is attained then is very great thing! I hope no reprisal will happen in the near future from the people of Sulu against Malaysia.

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