Kiram follower killed in Sabah: report
MANILA – A soldier of the Sulu Sultanate was shot dead as Malaysian forces resumed its operation against the Filipino intruders on Wednesday, a Malaysian news agency reported.
The Star Online, quoting Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, said the soldier was killed in Kampung Tanduo.
"At 6.45 a.m., there were shots fired at our security forces and we returned fire and one of the enemies was shot," the Star Online quoted Ismail as saying.
"We believed he is killed," Ismail added.
Ismail said the Filipino fighters have been moving from one place to another to avoid being detected by the Malaysian forces.
After Tuesday's assault, Malaysian forces continued with their mopping up operations to clear Lahad Datu of the Filipino fighters, who have been holed up in Sabah since February 12 to press the sultanate's claim to the territory.
There are no reports yet that a Filipino fighter was found dead during the mopping up operations. The sultanate claims that the fighters and their leader, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, are in good condition.
The scope of the mopping up operations has also been widened, the Star Online report said.
A separate report by Bernama, meanwhile, said the situation in Lahad Datu and Semporna, where firefights between the two sides had occurred, remains under control.
The report also said that the search and mopping up operations, dubbed "Ops Daulat", were being conducted "within the 10-kilometer radius of Kampung Tanduo."
Police roadblocks were also placed along roads leading to Felda Sahabat, while journalists were required to register their names before being allowed entry into the area.
Mopping up operations yield no bodies
Malaysia on Tuesday launched an attack with jet fighters and soldiers on up to 300 Filipino invaders in a bid to end a bloody three-week standoff in which 27 people had already been reported killed, including eight policemen.
Prime Minister Najib Razak had declared the operation was "weeding out" the holed-up followers of a self-styled Muslim sultan from the Philippines, who had come to assert a long-dormant claim to the Malaysian state of Sabah.
But authorities later indicated the militants had escaped into surrounding farmland in the remote region of Borneo island, where residents were already on edge over reports of roaming gunmen and two bloody shootouts.
The standoff began February 12, when Malaysia's government said an estimated 100-300 armed Filipinos had landed in Sabah and were surrounded in the sleepy farming village of Tanduo in Lahad Datu.
After an initial standoff, violence erupted there Friday with a deadly shootout, followed by a second gunfight a day later in Semporna, another town hours away. Authorities have said 27 have died in the shootouts and related violence.
The intruders are followers of Jamalul Kiram III, 74, the Manila-based self-proclaimed heir of the former sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled part of the southern Philippines and claimed sovereignty over Sabah.
The Sulu sultanate's power faded a century ago but its heirs continue to insist on ownership of resource-rich Sabah, and still receive nominal Malaysian payments under a lease deal originally struck by Western colonial powers. – with Agence France-Presse