Apr 102013
At least nine more people with suspected links to Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III—two of them local residents—were arrested in Sabah Tuesday and Wednesday, Malaysian police said.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the nine were picked up in Beluran, according to a report by Malaysia’s state-run Bernama news agency.

Confiscated from them were weapons, documents and about RM1,000 (P13,511.60), he added.

“There was, however, no exchange of gunfire when they were arrested,” Hamza said.

Hamza said the nine, whose ages ranged between 20 and 50, were arrested 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, and are detained under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act of 2012 (Sosma).

Malaysian forces have been flushing out Kiram’s followers since March 5. Kiram’s followers had engaged Malaysian forces in a nearly-three-week standoff that culminated in deadly clashes on March 1 and 2.

32 ‘politicians’ still probed

Hamza also said they are still quizzing 32 Filipinos intercepted off Sabah waters from Mindanao on Monday.

However, the Department of Foreign Affairs (which places the group’s number of members at 33), said that the Filipinos are set for release.

“Last night the order for the release was given at the behest of the Foreign Minister of Malaysia and the Defense Minister of Malaysia. Administrative procedure and the papers are now being handled for their actual release,” said DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez in a press briefing Wednesday.

Also still being investigated are “Datuk Seri” Clarence Luing Karl a.k.a. Muhammad Khalil John Karl, who was caught on April 5.

On the other hand, Hamza denied reported claims by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chief Nur Misuari that Filipinos were being abused by security forces in Sabah.

“They can say whatever they want but as far as we are concerned, no Filipino is being abused,” he said.

“Even dead bodies of the Sulu gunmen were buried with dignity and according to religious rights. We don’t even want to kill them if possible,” he added. — BM, GMA News

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