Sultanate wants info on captured royal army soldiers

Posted at 03/07/2013 10:29 AM

MANILA – The sultanate of Sulu wants information on the 10 royal army soldiers arrested by Malaysian security forces in Sabah, a spokesperson said Thursday.

Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson of the sultanate, said 10 royal army soldiers were arrested during Malaysia's latest assault in Sabah.

"Ang sabi ni [Sulu crown prince] Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram ay pagkatapos silang nag-regroup, at binilang niya ang total na bilang ng kanilang hanay, ay 10 ang nahuli," Idjirani told dzMM.

"Ang royal army security forces sa Tanduo, kung saan iyun din ang ini-report at inihayag ng mga newspapers sa Pilipinas man o Malaysia, ay 235 lamang sila. So nabawasan ng 20, kasama ang namatay [na sampu, at nahuling sampu]. 215 na lang sila kasama ang 4 injured."

Idjirani said both the Malaysian government and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs have yet to release information on the allegedly captured fighters.

"Wala ho. Iyan ang pinagtataka namin kung bakit pinag-dedebatehan ang bilang ng namatay. Ngunit walang sinasabi na mayroon din tayong nahuli, 10. Ngunit 'di inaalam at walang report, walang notification at communication tungkol sa mga sampung nahuli at ano ang condition nito," he said.

Idjirani also belied reports that 13 Filipino fighters were killed during the latest assault. He claimed that the royal army lost 10 men, and that the 3 others may be civilians.

"Baka kumuha sila ng mga sibilyan, pinatay nila tapos dinala doon para ma-confuse ang sambayanag Pilipino at para maging basehan at matawag ang sultanate of Sulu na nagsisinungaling lamang," he said.
'Dozens' of sympathizers arrested

Malaysian news agency "Star Online", meanwhile, reported Thursday that local police had rounded up "dozens" of people who have links to the Filipino fighters.

"They included relatives of the Sulu armed group's leader Raja Muda Azizmudie Kiram, a few uniformed personnel and a local politician here (Lahad Datu)," the report said.

Malaysian police have yet to release the exact figures of the arrested, and their relationship with the Filipino fighters.

The report also said that one of the arrested could be a close relative of crown prince Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram "who had played an advisory role to the Sulu group, and has gone into hiding [in Lahad Datu] or in Semporna."

Some Tanduo residents were also quoted as saying that those detained included a son of the crown prince and a woman related to him. Raja Muda Kiram, however, told the Star Online that all of his sons were still with him in Tanduo village, along with 200 to 300 of his followers and six women.