Malaysian forces resume pursuit of Sulu ‘royal army’


DIGOS CITY, Philippines—Malaysian aircraft took to the skies over Lahad Datu anew starting around 8:40 a.m. Thursday as ground forces advanced deeper into the Tanduo area in search of the members of the so-called “royal army” of the heirs of the old sultanate of Sulu.

Malaysian police Inspector General Ismail Omar said over a Sandakan radio station that the Malaysian aircraft, including F18s, were on an aerial survey mission, following the reported sighting of a group of armed men in Kampung Batu, near Tanduo.

The village, The New Straits Times reported, was eight villages away from Kampung Fajar Harapan, where Lahad Datu evacuees had sought safety.

In this Tuesday, March 5, 2013 photo released by Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense, Malaysian soldiers prepare their weapons before joining an assault near the area where a stand-off with Filipino gunmen took place, at Tanduo village in Lahad Datu in Sabah. AP

Ismail would also not say how many jets were involved but confirmed that these were the same aircraft involved in Tuesday’s bomb run in Tanduo, where 13 bodies of suspected Sulu gunmen under the leadership of Agbimuddin Kiram, have been dug up in mopping-up operations by Malaysian security forces.

A reporter of the Sandakan radio station, who said he was stationed in Felda Sahabat 16 in Lahad Datu, some 20 kilometers from the target of the aerial bombing, said he observed that seven jets would pass over him at intervals of about four minutes.

“But there have been no bombs dropped yet,” the reporter said.

Ismail said that aside from the reconnaissance flights, the Malaysian Navy was continuing patrols off Lahad Datu and the areas of Semporna and Kunak.

He said security forces were scattered everywhere and new checkpoints had been setup.

The renewed activities of the Malaysian security forces, which had a lull on Wednesday, occurred as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a call for an end to the violence.

In Semporna, Malaysia, the widow of one of the policemen killed in the violence in Sabah also called for an end to the bloodshed.

“Enough with the bloodshed already. Please, let this end  now,” Siti Banddorah Mahali, wife of slain Malaysian police officer Sarjan Abd Azis Sarikon, said in an interview on another Sabah radio station, whose broadcast was also monitored here, on Wednesday.

Mahali said the continuing operation endangered the lives of more security forces and Sulu gunmen and that their deaths could become unbearable for their families.

She cited her husband’s death, adding that his demise had become agonizing to her and their four children.

“The loss of my husband is very painful for us and the family of the other policemen, who were also killed. I do not want the others to experience the same,” Mahali said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was to visit Felda Sahabat Thursday in an apparent bid to boost the Malaysian troops’ morale.

A statement issued by the Ops Daulat media center in Felda Sahabat said Najib was “to look into the logistic, facilities and the welfare of Malaysian security forces.”

As Malaysian security forces continue to comb the Lahad Datu areas for remnants of what Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi termed “routed terrorists,” the New Straits Times reported that “dozens of suspected sympathizers of the so-called Sulu gunmen have been detained for questioning by police over the past fortnight.”

Among those arrested were people related to the Kirams, some “uniformed personnel and local politicians.”

A Kiram relative in Lahad Datu was also being hunted down for his alleged role in the crisis, the New Straits Times said, without citing sources.

Malaysian authorities have admitted that Agbimuddin Kiram  lived in Sabah and even served as assistant district officer of Kudat in the northern tip of Sabah in the early 1970s.

He has relatives living in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Sandakan.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • bab

    Malaysia as a federation is bound to disintegrate, for Savahans now saw how ruthless their government is. Actually, they maimed and killed innocent civilians as they pass along highways and street or get near their patrol checkpoints. Malaysian police/security commandos are terribly scared to venture into inner streets and villages. They know they are finished off by the seasoned fighters of the Sultan Royal Army. Malaysia banned foreign press and there is an effecive news block out, but from reports from civilians, many Malaysian police were really killed in action.

    • corei3sleek

      Lame and baseless a.k.a moron. If they scared, they would not chase your terrorist till they ran like hell. What a pathetic.  

      • iSay2

        malaysia is not a democracy. it is run by party-dictatorship led by corrupt UMNO Baru politicians…yes, soon it will disintegrate…sabah will become independent.

      • corei3sleek

         In your dream but still u r moron

      • iSay2

         argue your case, not call people with rude names like “moron”. it just shows that malaysian are less educated and sore loser

      • corei3sleek

        No it’s true, you r so moron.  We r so educated and clever and that’s why we don’t talk about your country politic. But since you r moron, I don’t expect you to understand it.

      • jack

         they are scared… sending 5 battalions to secure the area, aided by gunboats and jets, looking for 100- 200 militants/claimants of sabah…

      • corei3sleek

        That’s what we called strategy and it works so far. Remember the number 52-70 although it may go up.  Where now Kiram’s men? No money, hungry, thirsty and now begging for sympathy. Brainless.

  • m yaz

    Some of the dead bodies of the cops were beheaded and even had their eyes gouged out! What kind of people of these?

    • corei3sleek

       yes! this is what they called it islamic. BTW, they gouged out the eyes just for the sake of Kiram. if you know what i mean…  

    • iSay2

       Kirams’ forces were trained by Malaysian since the 70s and taught the islamic way. Too bad the sultan forces are gouging the eyes of their trainers now, tsk, tsk, tsk

  • TheAwesomeNess

    reply to bab: and our country is more worst.

  • Royalbloodline

    Why not 100million filipinos elect the Sultan as President of Philipine in the next election.

    • TheAwesomeNess

      then change our country’s name into sulu kingdom. i bet we can get sabah.

      • rmshnr

        Make sure the name becomes like this : Islamic Republic of the Sulu Caliphate and the Philippines. 

        You will be the next Iran in the line.

    • andy a


  • Hey_Dudes

    Hey Mr. & Ms. Malaysian give our guys a break.  They are relaxing for now.

  • joboni96

    ituloy ang laban
    but let’s have a plan

    for a bright economic future
    a united sultanate coordinating

    the tausug people
    within bangsamoro and pilipino nation

    price to pay for the tough brave tausugs

  • andy a


  • andy a


  • andy a


To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos