In the Know: Sabah incursion


Agbimuddin Kiram: Journey back home. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

In February, a group composed of civilians and members of what was called “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” landed in Tanduo village in Lahad Datu town, Sabah. The leader of the group was Agbimuddin Kiram, younger brother of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram.

Agbimuddin described his group’s action as “not an act of aggression but a journey back home.”

The Kirams are among the descendants and heirs of the sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, and they are asserting their historical claim to Sabah.

The heirs say Sabah was ceded in 1704 to the sultan of Sulu by the sultan of Brunei, who was grateful to the sultan of Sulu for helping quell a rebellion against him.

Every year, the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines issues a check in the amount of 5,300 ringgit (about P72,000) to the legal counsel of the heirs. Malaysia considers the amount “cession” payment for Sabah, while the heirs consider it “rent.”

According to Abraham Julpa Idjirani, secretary general and spokesman for the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, the direct descendants and heirs of the sultan of Sulu and North Borneo are Sultan Jamalul, Sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram III, Datu Alianapia Kiram, Datu Phugdal Kiram, Datu Baduruddin Kiram and Agbimuddin, crown prince and official administrator of Sabah.

Agbimuddin’s intrusion led to a two-week standoff with Malaysian police and military troops that erupted in violence on March 1. More than 60 members of Agbimuddin’s group were killed in the fighting, which also spilled over to other villages as Malaysian forces tried to flush out the intruders. At least eight Malaysian police officers and two soldiers were also killed.

According to reports, Agbimuddin has not been heard from since the fighting ended in early April.

As of April, more than 180 people have been detained in connection with the incursion led by Agbimuddin, while more than 350 have been arrested for other acts related to the incident.

Thousands of Filipinos living and working in Sabah fled the state during the fighting and returned to southern Philippines.

Earlier this month, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima denied that the government was planning to hand over Jamalul and his followers to Malaysia, contrary to reports that the Kirams were claiming that Malacañang had plans to hand them over to Malaysia to face charges there for their incursion into Sabah.—Inquirer Research


Source: Inquirer Archives

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  • Diepor

    They are criminals so its very easy, convict them. Nobody should be above the law.

    • opinyonlangpo

      That is same thinking when they killed the heroes of the Philippines. Let them have it.

  • Mon Dragon

    Maybe now they are branded as criminals the villains, but if in the future they will win, for sure they will be the heroes and stars. And those who branded them as criminals and villains will have to swallow their shame.. Let us not judged them of their actions, but rather let us judged them why in their hearts, they acted like that..

    • anonis_anonis

      nope. they will never succeed. They don’t have support of people of Sabah, as simple as that.

      Without support from local, no guerrilla movement will ever succeed. We Malaysian won through communist that way.

  • RomyLitz

    Let us see how Najib handles his own problem. He sent mediators to our problem in Mindanao and sent alo mediators anywhere in Asia for settling disputes. Now, the problem is in his own backyard.

  • MShaf

    The title of this article is misleading. How could it be ‘incursion’ of something that is eternally his. ‘Homecoming’ is more like it.

  • disqusted0fu

    Sabah? The Aquino government has long moved on from this. Actually, it seemed disinterested even on the hype of the Sabah stand off. Must be satisfied with the deal with Malaysia.

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