Malaysia vows to get leader of Sulu band

Rajah Mudah Agbimuddin Kiram is seated at extreme left with brothers Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram II and (standing from left) Datu Alianapia Kiram, Datu Phugdal Kiram and Datu Baduruddin Kiram. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malaysia has vowed not to stop until it gets Agbimuddin Kiram, leader of an armed group from Sulu whose incursion into Sabah last month has taken the lives of dozens of Filipinos and Malaysians.

After establishing a coastal security zone in eastern Sabah, the Malaysian government is also encouraging Sabahans to be more vigilant to prevent further incursions into the territory by followers of the sultan of Sulu who are trying to retake the state from Malaysia.

The Eastern Sabah Security Zone, completed last week and manned by police and military troops, has been established to watch the coastal areas of the state for intruders from Sulu.

Speaking at the 206th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Malaysian Police in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, Prime Minister Najib Razak praised the residents of Senalang village in Semporna town for taking head on a fighter from Agbimuddin’s group on March 3.

The fighter, a member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), gathered the villagers at a mosque and threatened them with his M-16 rifle.

But at one point the fighter made the mistake of lighting a cigarette.

The moment he lowered his rifle, the villagers rushed him and clubbed him to death.

“In their attempt to defend themselves and the country, the terrorist was killed,” Najib said.

“Their deed and bravery are most appreciated,” Najib said.

 

Out of Sabah

The leader of the intruders, Agbimuddin, a brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, is believed to have abandoned the so-called Royal Security Forces of Sulu and North Borneo and slipped out of Sabah at the height of a police-military crackdown on the intruders at the start of March.

But Philippine authorities say they have no information that Agbimuddin has returned to the Philippines, while his family in Manila insists that he is still in Sabah.

Malaysian Attorney General Gani Patail, speaking in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, said Agbimuddin can not escape the long arm of the law.

“You commit such an offense and we will go after you.” Gani told reporters.

According to Malaysian military information, Agbimuddin survived air and artillery strikes in Tanduo village in Lahad Datu district on March 5 and could have slipped out of Sabah through a route well known to MNLF fighters who used the area for training at the height of the Moro rebellion in the 1980s.

Agbimuddin, whose so-called security forces are MNLF fighters, is believed to be hiding in southern Philippines, moving from island to island to avoid detection.

He could have fled Sabah on March 15 and part of his group, consisting of 38 people in two boats, was intercepted by the Philippine Navy off Tawi-Tawi on that day.

Preliminary probe

Agbimuddin’s 38 followers are facing criminal charges, including inciting to war, in a Tawi-Tawi court.

The court has ordered a new investigation of the 38 because they were arrested without warrants.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Tuesday that she would designate a group of prosecutors to handle the new investigation.

The new investigation does not mean the government’s case against the 38 is weak, De Lima said.

“[The new investigation] is a remedy provided under the Rules of Court,” she said. “They were arrested without warrant, and one remedy available to [them] is a reinvestigation, or preliminary investigation,” she added.

De Lima explained that after the arrest of the 38, they were put through an inquest and they were unable to present evidence in their defense.

A preliminary investigation will give them that chance, she said.

The suspects are being held in a naval base in Tawi-Tawi.

Wanted man

On orders from President Aquino, Agbimuddin has been declared “a wanted man” in Tawi-Tawi, according to Gov. Sadikul Sahari.

The government’s plan is to bring charges against Agbimuddin and imprison him here.

Malaysia, however, can ask the Philippines to hand over Agbimuddin under a legal assistance treaty approved by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In the Philippines, Agbimuddin can expect to be charged with offenses with international application, such as inciting to war, for which he could draw life imprisonment.

In Malaysia, Agbimuddin can expect to face charges of terrorism and waging war against Malaysian King Abdul Halim for his intrusion into Sabah. He could be given the death penalty.

Fighting between Agbimuddin’s group and Malaysian security forces has taken the lives of 65 fighters from his group and eight policemen and two soldiers on the Malaysian side.

No local report

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Tuesday the Philippines had no information to bolster the Malaysian military report that Agbimuddin had returned to the Philippines.

“We have no report to that effect,” Gazmin told reporters.

He said the Philippines and Malaysia had agreed to share information about Agbimuddins’ incursion into Sabah.

The Malaysian security forces have deployed 12 battalions to hunt down Agbimuddin and his men, Gazmin said.

Agbimuddin’s group has reportedly split into small units that have spread out to other parts of Lahad Datu to escape pursuing troops.

“Remember [Agbimuddin] has been there for quite some time and he has been moving in and out of Malaysia, so he knows the terrain,” Gazmin said.

“He has a lot of relatives. Once upon a time he was a (local official) so he knows the area,” Gazmin said, referring to Malaysian information that Agbimuddin once served as a local official in Sabah, and is a Malaysian citizen.

If it is true that Agbimuddin is Malaysian, then Malaysian laws should apply to him while he is in Sabah, Gazmin said.

Asked if the government is verifying Agbimuddin’s real citizenship, Gazmin replied: “I cannot give you a definite answer on that. Maybe we are. But we have not found any conclusive answer yet.”

Gazmin described Agbimuddin as like a fish in the water. “Take out the water, you find the fish,” he said.

Under control

Agbimuddin’s family in Manila denies he has returned to the Philippines, saying Malaysian talk of his fleeing to Sulu is merely “propaganda.”

The Malaysian military has declared Tanjung Batu, the last scene of fighting between security forces and Agbimuddin’s men, under full government control. Reports from Nikko Dizon and Christine O. Avendaño in Manila; Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao; and Malaysia’s The Star/Asia News Network

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

  • Mamang Pulis

    Reports from military intelligence–Agbimuddin Kiram is staying at the safehouse designated by the DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas, apparently he will be produced in a right time that will have a maximum media impact on his 2016 presidential bid. However, Malaysian state authorities through their informants have reported otherwise, he was apparently spotted in Kuching, in a satti food stall grilling chicken thighs and beef tidbits for that famous Tausug delicacy. They even reported that they give discounts for regular customers. Another unverified report, he was spotted in Taganak was about to board a motor launch last week for Zamboanga. He brought with him barter goods like 3-1 nescafe pure gold, nescafe white, ali coffee white coffee, aik cheong teh tarik milk tea…he even brought slimming teas and beauty kits that could be sold 200 pesos per pack. The Malaysian border police was alledgedly bribed for 100RM and three big cigarrette cartons of slimming tea and beauty packs for their harem of wives.

    • DnKy

      i’m sure, very very sure, all of these reported sightings are all true. believe me. we all know fearsome tausug warrior have these mystic powers, bullets can’t harm them, ability to transplant one’s manhood to the forehead, can become menananggal, etc. well it’s sad news to malaysian, but it’s true, teleportation is one their mystic powers too.

      • Ari Putan

        Correct.

      • DnKy

        see.. i told you guys.. if anything, ask ari putan, he is expert on this..

      • Ari Putan

        Yes. We are on advance stage of developing another power, but it is top secret. I will divulge that in due course.

        Meanwhile, Tausogs mystical power is more than enough for these weakling cowards.

      • DnKy

        yea.. we can’t expect you to elaborate more on this new power, as doing so, i believe, will make it lose the element of surprise.

      • Mamang Pulis

        mystical powers–ng durian at kahwah–sabayan mo ng pan.

      • Mamang Pulis

        :)) salam..I have nothing against you peeps. Our Goverments should be working to resolve these and de-escalate. Posters, being netizens, should not be fanning the flames of war.

      • DnKy

        salam.. luckily the governments are not being run by forum commenters. yea, make love not war.. : )

  • Hey_Dudes

    I, for one, encourages Malaysia to get this bum and be made to answer for leading a bunch of terrorist into Sabah resulting in your peaceful existence shattered y their wild adventure. I am convince you can do it unlike our government and security forces who are all just loudmouths and hot airs. The problem in our military and their inability to deal with a bunch of bandits kidnapping tourist and locals in exchange for ransom is, we have too many generals not enough foot soldiers. So, please do the Philippines a big favor by eliminating these terrorist once and for all.

    • headhunter

      Dude, your comment is one of the most sensible that I read so far, it is not because I am a Malaysian and being biased but from the fact that just too many things don’t add up, for instance:

      1) I had read report that Idjarani, Jacel, Mrs Jamalul, one pastor Shitcon or something, were issued summon to appear in court of inquiry related to the invasion of Sabah – but the next thing we saw in the news was a picture or Mrs Jamalul holding the summon and laughed if off. Since then not a sound from anyone. Are they above the law or Phlippines Gov’t just has no power over it’s own citizens?

      2) Jacel and Idjarani are reported to talk to Agbimuddin regularly while both Philippines and Malaysian Authorities are having Agbimuddin as wanted man. Then how come Phlippines Authorities do not investigate, listen to the phone conversation or best still insist to talk to Agbimuddin through phone and offer negotiation, etc. If in Malaysia, Jacel and Agbimuddin would have been visited by our CID and asked to oblige to help or else being charged. Are Jacel and Idjarani above the law or Phlippines Gov’t has no power over them?

      3) Report said here and there, including the Inquirer, describing Jamalul as “self proclaimed Sultan of Sulu”. The position of Jamalul to the eye of the world is very vague. Does Philippines Gov’t recognise Jamalul as Sultan or even better does your Gov’t recognise the Sultanate exist? Your answer to these question would set the truth.
      etc……

  • boldyak

    Malaysia, however, can ask the Philippines to hand over Agbimuddin under a legal assistance treaty approved by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

    and we can’t ask malaysian to hand over the malaysian who mad a scam in Philippines…..this is absolutely -s-t-u-p-i-d-, our mind is being conditioned that it is okay to hand over Agbimuddin to the malaysians…wtf

  • http://www.facebook.com/adri.tion Adri Tion

    Kiram, his brothers and family are nothing but thugs and criminals. Just let Malaysia take care of them. . . the Philippines do not have the time and resources to clean up these dirty muslims (who are bloodying the name of their allah and brothers). They all deserve to go to prison and die!

  • AnakSabah

    - In Malaysia, like in the Philippines, criminals will be prosecuted and punished in the court of law.

    – We hope the Philippines Govt. can bring KiramIII to justice if he commit any crime there, after which he should face criminal charges in Malaysia. Hopefully, this is possible.

    – Malaysia does not deploy 12 battalions to hunt down Agbimuddin and his men. The number is much less. They are deployed to provide protection and security for local population and local assets (houses, schools, clinics, plantations etc), not to hunt them down. It is only our Police/Police Commando (not the Military) that are deployed to apprehend Kiram men as they are considered armed and dangerous. In Malaysia, it is a serious offense to carry loaded weapons, if found guilty, punishable by death.

    – The military did used its assets to drop bombs to start the campaign to flush the criminals, but they could not destroy the villagers’ houses. Those houses are homes to poor people even though Kiram men were using the houses as hiding places. Kiram men managed to burn some houses as they scrambled to safety. The Malaysian Govt is assessing the damage for compensation purposes.
    – Malaysia is not out to kill anyone, let alone our citizens of Sulu origins, many of whom have been living in Sabah for many generations owning lands and other assets through hard work, good educations and inter-marriages. As an example, the highest civilian position in Sabah, His Excellency the Governor, Tun Juhar, is 100% of Sulu origin who was given scholarship to study Law in England. The Father of Sabah Independent and one-time the Chief Minister of Sabah, Tun Mustapha was of Sulu origin.

    – The way forward is for all Sabahan of all races and religions, some 800,000 are of Sulu origins, is to embrace modern educations and get jobs so we can create more wealth together. Good educations create wealth so we can buy more lands with nice homes for our families.
    – The current incident is a small blip in our radar in nation building in both countries. It must not jeopardize the many years of good relationships that we enjoyed as people of two great and proud nations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stryker.marura Stryker Marura

    Pinoy traydor at pulpol na presidente ng Pilipinas!mababa ang tingin sa taga mindanao!nung bagyo, kung di pa nilusob yung DSWD hindi marelease ang mga bigas!tapos ngayon hinayaan ang mga malaysian na ratratin ang mga pinoy!

  • terrorist kirams

    whatever…
    KIRAMS = TERRORIST
    pinoy supporting KIRAMS = TERRORIST
    fleeing pinoys = PITY

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