Feb 282013


DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An uncanny silence now engulfs Felda Sahabat 17, a community in the seaside village of Tanjung in Tanduo, Lahad Datu following nearly an hour of gun fight between Malaysian security forces and members of the Sulu sultanate’s “royal army,” the short wave station Free Radio Sarawak near Sabah reported Friday.

Another SW station based in Kota Kinabalu said more Malaysian security forces in full battle gear were seen heading for Tanduo and were expected to beef up security forces stationed there when  the stand-off between the two sides started February 12, three days after followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III landed in the village.

Both stations said they could not confirm the number of casualties but their reporters quoted villagers as saying those being moved out for injuries were members of the Malaysian security forces.

Abraham Iridjani, spokesperson for Jamalul Kiram, told Manila reporters that there had been injuries on the side of the “royal army” as well.

Malaysian authorities remained mum on the firefight, the Kota Kinabalu station said.

Reports by other Malaysian media said former Sabah minister Harris Salleh lamented the violence, saying “it would remain a scar forever” on Malaysia’s diplomatic image before the eyes of the world.

Harris had earlier called for a peaceful resolution of the Sabah stand-off and proposed that Kuala Lumpur settle the claims of the heirs of the ancient sultanate by buying it out.

He proposed that the sum of at least RM200 million be offered to the heirs of the sultanate so they would drop their bid to reclaim Sabah.

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

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