No fatalities in Sabah shooting: envoy
MANILA (UPDATE) - There were no fatalities in the shooting incident between Malaysian police authorities and the group of Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram in Sabah, Malaysia Friday morning, according to the Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines.
A government spokesman said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had just talked to the Malaysian ambassador who confirmed there was shooting in Lahad Datu but that it had already stopped.
"The secretary was just in touch with the Malaysian Ambassador and the official told the secretary that there was firing in Lahad Datu earlier but there were no casualties and the firing has already stopped," DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told ANC.
A report by ABS-CBN correspondent Henry Omaga Diaz said he received information from a relative of Kiram who said that 4 of Kiram's men were wounded in the shooting. The information remains unverified.
He said the relative confirmed that the firefight had subsided after both sides stopped shooting.
Hernandez said he has yet to get the details of the Malaysian ambassador's official report.
He said the DFA is in touch with Malaysian officials including the special branch of the military forces of Malaysia.
He said the Philippine government is monitoring the situation.
A humanitarian aid ship is also on standby to evacuate Kiram's group and return them to the Philippines.
Kiram and his followers have been holed up in Lahad Datu for 3 weeks in an effort to strengthen the sultanate of Sulu's claim over Sabah, Malaysia.
Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram earlier told DZRH they have been surrounded by Malaysian authorities. He said at least one of their group had been wounded in the firefight.
"Nagbabarilan na! Mayroon ng tinamaan sa amin, isang wounded," he said.
"Putukan na rito. We are surrounded! Tapos na ang salita, Tapos na ang salita! We will fight today."
Princess Fatima Kiram, wife of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said she received unconfirmed reports that Malaysian authorities have arrested Kiram, the leader of the group in Lahad Datu.