Feb 282013


MANILA, Philippines—At least 10 people died while four others were injured when a firefight broke out between the “royal army” of Sulu and Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu village in Sabah, the daughter of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III said Friday.

Among those wounded is a woman, Princess Jaycel Kiram said in press conference in Manila.

She said the information was relayed to the royal family by Rajah Muda, brother of the sultan and leader of the group that sailed from Mindanao to Lahad Datu on February 12 to stake a territorial claim on Sabah.

The exchange of gunfire began at around 6 a.m. Friday when the Malaysian forces inched closer to the place where the group, which includes about 30 gunmen according to Filipino authorities,  has been holed up, Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultan of Sulu, said at the press conference.

The group has no intention to leave the area despite the firefight, the sultan stressed.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that shots were fired but denied reports there were casualties.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez told ABS-CBN network that the gunfire had stopped and there were no casualties.

“What he (Philippine ambassador to Malaysia) relayed to Secretary del Rosario was that this incident happened earlier, and thank God there were no casualties,” Hernandez said.

Scores of followers of Sultan Kiram have been facing off with Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu village for more than two weeks. With Radyo Inquirer and Agence France-Presse

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Tags: Lahad Datu , Sabah , Sabah claim , Sultan Jamalul Kiram III , Sultanate of Sulu

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