LAHAD DATU—Another Filipino fighter was killed on Sunday in a skirmish between Malaysian security forces and remnants of the so-called royal army of the sultanate of Sulu in Sabah.
The death of the fighter from the group led by Agbimuddin Kiram in the fire fight in Tanjung Batu village brought to 62 the number of Filipinos killed in Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s attempt to retake Sabah from Malaysia.
The Malaysian security forces have lost 10 of their own since violence began on March 1.
The body count cannot be independently verified, as journalists are barred from the military operations zone.
Lt. Gen. Zulkiple Kassim, Malaysian Army field commander, said the security forces encountered four men from Agbimuddin’s group in the village at around 10:15 a.m. and killed one of them in an exchange of fire.
Zulkiple said there was no casualty on the side of the security forces.
He said troops were conducting pursuit operations to get the other Sulu fighters.
The incident in Tanjung Batu ended a five-day lull in Malaysia’s “Operation Sovereignty” against the followers of Jamalul that began two weeks ago.
On Tuesday, a fire fight in Sungai Nyamuk, another village in Felda Sahabat near Tanjung Batu, took place, claiming the first military casualty from the Malaysian Army and injuring another soldier.
Two followers of the Sulu sultan were reportedly killed in the fighting.
Meanwhile, Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib said a detainee in Semporna town had died due to an illness, contrary to a news report that he had committed suicide.
A report from Malaysia’s The Star online quoted Hamza as saying that police were establishing if the 104 detainees rounded up under the Special Ordinance and Security Measures Act of 2012 had links to Agbimuddin’s group.
Hamza said members of the Kiram family were in Malaysia, using assumed names and had different identities in the Philippines, The Star report said. With a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao; and The Star/Asia News Network