Sulu sultan spokesman: 10 men killed in Sabah
Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2013 - 1:28pm

MANILA, Philippines - Ten members of the royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu were killed and four more were injured in an attack by Malaysian authorities in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia on Friday morning.

"Nakita niya with his own eyes," sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said, referring to Raj Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who is leading the royal army holed up in Lahad Datu.

Idjirani said that according to Kiram, brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, the 10 royal army members were killed and four more were hurt during an exchange of fire with Malaysian security forces at around 10:15 a.m.

The sultanate's spokesperson said that officials wanted "to cover up the truth" when they claimed that no one was hurt in the attack.

Idjirani said that they already know the identities of the two killed royal army members, but Sultan Kiram has ordered them to withhold the names to prevent further restiveness of the Filipino families of the royal army members.

Despite the casualties incurred by the group during the attack, the sultanate will continue to peacefully pursue their claim over Sabah.

"Wala tayong magawa. Ang nangyari ay nangyari na. But definitely dito ma-prove kung ano ang Bangsa Sulu. Bangsa Sulu will not take revenge but would pursue this matter peacefully,"  Idjirani said.

He said that the sultanate is looking at the possibility of elevating the matter to the Organization of Islamic Conference.

"The Sultanate of Sulu is a Muslim and Malaysian government is Muslim government," Idjirani said.

Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference that they received reports that at least 10 members of the royal army had surrendered and are now under the custody of Malaysian authorities.

Hernandez said they also received reports that some of Kiram's men had escaped toward the sea. He said they have yet to confirm the killing of the 10 royal army members.

He also reported that two Malaysian police commandos and the owner of the house where Agbimuddin's group stayed in Lahad Datu were also killed in the firefight.

Hernandez earlier said that Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dato Mohd Zamri Mohd Kassim confirmed that gunshots were fired in Lahad Datu.

Hernandez said Kassim did not say which group fired the shots. He added that the ambassador also clarified that there were no casualties from the incident.

"There were no casualties and that the firing had already stopped," Hernandez said, quoting Kassim's report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Meanwhile, a report by Malaysian online news website The Star online (http://thestar.com.my/) said that at least two members of the royal army were killed and three policemen were injured in the encounter.

It also reported that villagers claimed hearing gunshots at around 12:45 p.m.

The attack came almost three days after the Malaysian government's deadline for the Sulu royal army to leave Lahad Datu.

President Benigno Aquino III had also urged Sultan Kiram to order his brother and the royal army to return to the Philippines. The President had also threatened that charges may be filed against Kiram's group for the supposed intrusion into Lahad Datu.

Members of the Kiram clan have said that they will not give up on their claim over Sabah and they will not stay put in Lahad Datu.

ARMY BANGSA SULU HERNANDEZ IDJIRANI KIRAM LAHAD DATU MALAYSIAN MEMBERS ROYAL SABAH
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