Spokesman claims 10 Kiram men killed in Sabah

Posted at 03/01/2013 12:55 PM | Updated as of 03/01/2013 4:16 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The spokesman of a sultanate of Sulu claimed 10 people were killed and 4 others were wounded in the firefight between Malaysian forces and the group of Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram in Sabah, Malaysia Friday.

Spokesman Abraham Idjirani said he had just talked to Kiram who confirmed that 10 of his men were killed while 4 others were wounded in the shooting incident Friday.

"Ang sabi natin 'Your Highness, meron ba tayong casualties?' Ang sabi niya 'Meron.' Ilan ang martyrs? Sabi niya 'Sampu.' Ilan ang wounded? Sabi niya 'Apat.' May babae ba? Sabi niya 'yes...one of the fallen together with his wife,'" Idjirani said.

"Nakita niya with his own two eyes," he added.

The report runs counter to information from the Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines who said there were no fatalities in the shooting. Malacañang earlier said it is receiving conflicting reports on the incident.

Idjirani appealed to the Malaysian government to stop the attack, saying Kiram's men were armed only with bolos and knives and only a few had guns.

He claimed Malaysian police commandos were using snipers to get at Kiram's men.

Idjirani said the sultanate is not bent on taking revenge for the death of Kiram's men, saying their group wants to settle the matter peacefully.

He said their group will bring the matter to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

He also said the sultanate might ask the Organization of Islamic Conference to intervene.

"Yes. [We will protest]. We have declared from the start that the purpose of Raja Muda in going to Sabah is to live in peace," he said.

"Another option is to report the matter to the Organization of Islamic Conference inasmuch as the 2 adversaries are Muslims. The sultanate of Sulu is a Muslim institution and the Malaysian government is a Muslim government," he said.

Kiram and more than 200 followers have been holed up in Lahad Datu, Sabah for the past 3 weeks to revive the sultanate of Sulu's claim over Sabah. The sultanate of Sulu is citing historical accounts as basis for its claim.

The sultanate wants that a formal agreement recognizing its Sabah claim, brokered by Manila, be reached with Kuala Lumpur.

Manila, however, said the sultanate's condition is unacceptable.

It even warned members of the sultanate of possible criminal charges as a result of their decision to enter a foreign territory while bearing firearms.  With a report by Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News