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31 more killed as Malaysia rejects truce


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysian security forces gunned down 31 Filipinos in Borneo on Thursday, the highest number of casualties in a single day since nearly 200 followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of Sulu took over an entire village last month, police said.

This came as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak rejected a ceasefire call by Kiram whose followers landed in Sabah last month to assert a long-dormant territorial claim in what has become Malaysia’s worst security crisis in years.

The conflict has wreaked political havoc for both Malaysia and the neighboring Philippines. Most of the armed clansmen had eluded capture in a coastal district filled with palm oil plantations and forested hills after Malaysian forces attacked them with airstrikes and mortar fire on Tuesday.

Police and military forces tracking the Filipinos waged a fierce gunbattle that ended in the deaths of 31 clansmen Thursday, national police chief Ismail Omar said, adding that no Malaysians were injured.

Ismail said at least 52 Filipinos have now been killed in the past week since hostilities in the Sabah security crisis escalated. Eight policemen also were fatally shot by the Filipino clansmen and their allies in various parts of Sabah.

Kiram called for ceasefire at midday in Manila but Najib, who flew to the region Thursday to inspect security operations, said he told President Benigno Aquino by phone the offer was rejected.

“I told President Aquino they must lay down their arms immediately,” Najib told reporters in a village near the area where up to 300 militants were being searched for.

“They have to surrender their arms and they have to do it as soon as possible.”

Sulu sultan calls for ceasefire in Sabah

Kiram  declared a unilateral ceasefire beginning 12:30 p.m. (0430 GMT) and urged Malaysia to reciprocate.

But Najib said Malaysian forces would continue to press the offensive, adding that still more soldiers would be sent in to the hilly region of vast oil palm estates and pockets of jungle.

Anger has mounted in Malaysia over the standoff, which began February 12 when fighters arrived from the southern Philippines to press Kiram’s claim to the area.

Kiram says he is heir to the Sultanate of Sulu, which once ruled islands that are now part of the southern Philippines, as well as Sabah.

An estimated 100-300 militants were holed up in the sleepy farming village of Tanduo for three weeks until a pair of deadly shootouts with security forces at the weekend triggered a military assault with jet fighters and ground forces Tuesday.

However, the attack appears to have merely scattered the fighters, and security forces were combing through huge palm groves for them. Sporadic exchanges of fire have been reported since the assault.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged a peaceful resolution of the bizarre incursion, which has led to at least 28 reported deaths — 20 militants and eight police officers.

“(Ban) urges an end to the violence and encourages dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation,” said a statement released by his office late Wednesday.

Kiram declared the “unilateral ceasefire… in order to reciprocate the call of the UN to preserve lives”, said his spokesman.

Malaysia’s military assault appears to have failed, with authorities confirming just one kill so far.

They have not explained how the militants — said to be alive and well and in contact with their Manila comrades — were able to escape a tight security cordon built up over three weeks.

Tension is running high in eastern Sabah due to the incursion, and residents of some towns have fled after police said gunmen were spotted in other areas down the coast, raising fears of a wider guerrilla infiltration.

Late Wednesday, police said the bodies of six police officers killed in a weekend ambush in the coastal town of Semporna were mutilated.

“The bodies of dead police personnel were found to have been brutally mutilated by the armed intruders,” a statement said, giving no further details.

Police have said six militants responsible for the Semporna ambush were later killed by reinforcements.

The incursion has proven a delicate situation for the two neighbors, with Manila earlier calling for Malaysian restraint just before Tuesday’s military assault was launched.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said late Wednesday that his government might seek Kiram’s extradition if Manila failed to take action, but the Philippine government said that was unlikely, citing the lack of an extradition treaty.

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Tags: Malaysia , Philippines , Sabah , Sabah claim , Sultan Jamalul Kiram III , Sultanate of Sulu

  • Pinsan_ni_Mang_Kanor

    New Tourism slogan: Its more fun in Sabah….
    Made me thought of spending a vacation in Kota Kinabalu :-):-)

  • Tun Mohd Firdaus

    to PurpleDaisy13: still boring… i want to sleep now… kih kih kih… happy to troll u… kih kih kih… but honestly u are boring….

    • ofwme2807

       good for you sleep well and please don’t wake up anymore…

      • Tun Mohd Firdaus

         hi… kih kih kih… evil and bad people their prayer always been rejected…. kih kih kih

    • Matambaka

       Have you done your assignment already Mr Journalist? haha..

      Si Firdaus Journalist…dito kumukuha  ng news report sa comment  sa Inquirer…

      naka subs ako sa twit nya…

      • Tun Mohd Firdaus

         didn’t want to waste my time… whatever history fact and claim u come with are rubbish to me… your part and believe are nonsense because until now nothing change… sabah still be acknowledge by world body to be part of malaysia…

  • simondj

    the Kirams send their men like sheep is going to the slaughter house.

  • Hey_Dudes

    Kiram felt so good in his mansion in Taguig, Rizal while his royal terrorist were risking their lives on a lost cause.  Now that these rats are cornered and nowhere to go – they cry U.N. please help?  You should have given this adventure a lot of thought Kiram and not just push your supporters to something they will not win.  Malaysia is not like the Philippines.  Do them harm and Malaysia will retaliate with force.

    Ang lakas ng loob mong lusubin and isang bansa wala ka naman palang ibubuga?  Cease fire…..help U.N…………Serve you right if Malaysian will kill the remaining rats you sent.

  • Matambaka

    Our Sulu Warriors  Will possibly strike at the time when it is calm…

    Lie Low at tago tago muna… they blend with civilians..

    thats why more civilians are being taken… for questioning..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6IQL5RAS6KELQSXC6F6UGWKZNU gregorio

    Foreign reporters are not allowed near the scene of the fight. Malaysia has controlled over the media. How can we verify the truth ?

  • diverme

    Goodbye royal sulu army…meron pa kayo fight to the death pag umpisa ng bakbakan ceasefire gusto nyo??!! You made your bed now sleep in it.

  • Operation Merdeka

    The Pnot government doesnt really cares about the Sabah issues..
    why? becuz after 3yrs his no president anymore….

    So bahala kayo dyan….

  • opinyonlangpo

    Malaysia rejects truce or talks. Some similiarity with the movie independence where the alien said – Peace, there can be no peace. And the only option left is for its enemies to die. Anyway I have observed that Malaysians in this forum tend to be rude and barbaric in their comments whereas in Malaysian forums they are more civilized and polite whether they agree or not. Does it mean that the Malaysian commenters here are paid and set out to irritate the Filipinos or maybe just coincidence?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2LTXBWMOSF22PZPAM26K6B7OZE Adzhar

      Actually we are playing your dirty game here. Many Filipinos talking bad and telling lies which detriment for us to keep ourselves civil. In all honesty dear Opinyonlangpo….do you think your fellow countrymen are behaving politely in here? I have no idea what did they say in Tagaloq but in English alone makes me puke blood on the “politeness” of written comments.

      • opinyonlangpo

        I see, so it means you become a pig when you are with pigs. Most Asians are like that. Like what you are insinuating now, you assume immediately that I am a Filipino and thus treat me as an enemy. I appreciate though your honesty that you as a Malaysian is playing a dirty game here. It is fair play for you but not all are dirty players and as a result you are giving Malaysians a bad image.

  • Dawn Dare

    The primary objective of any war effort is not to annihilate the enemy. You can’t. The objective is to make the enemy lose his will to fight.

    The Tausug stands out in history. The Suluk ideology is something you can never take away from him.

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