Navy denies hundreds of Kiram's men slipped through blockade
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2013 - 3:39pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy on Friday said that rumors claiming that thousands of armed followers of the Sultanate of Sulu have entered Sabah.

"A report saying that thousands of Kiram's followers have been able to slip through Sabah borders is extremely doubtful," said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregori Fabic.

Fabic said that the movement of hundreds of gunmen in the waters between Sabah and Tawi-Tawi province Mindanao cannot go unnoticed by the Navy.

"The naval barriers along our borders are well patrolled by both our Naval Forces West (NFW) in Palawan and Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) in Zamboanga and their Marine units have adequately covered all possible ports where they will be available to monitor their movements," Fabic stressed.

Aside from the country's Navy, the Malaysian navy is also conducting sea patrol to prevent the possible entry of the supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in Sabah.

Fabic said that the Philippine Navy has been able to "control movements both in and out, assisting those fleeing Sabah from the violence as well as illegal transit across the border."

In a press conference held earlier in Malaysia, police Inspector General Tan Sri Ismail also denied the supposed entry of 700 supporters of Kiram in Sabah.

"I received information that there are SMS and social media postings which falsely claim that these gunmen have entered Kota Kinabalu and Tawau to create chaos," Ismail said.

On Thursday, Malaysian security officials said that a total of 31 members of the sultanate's royal army, led by Agbimuddin Kiram, were killed by their troops during the ongoing mopping up operations.

The Malaysian police claims that a total of 52 members of the royal army have been killed by its commandos.

Ismail said that they were still verifying the identity of the "general" of the royal army who was also killed during operations on Thursday.

There were speculations that the slain royal army official was Agbimuddin, brother of Sulu sultan.

AGBIMUDDIN KIRAM FABIC GREGORI FABIC INSPECTOR GENERAL TAN SRI ISMAIL ISMAIL KIRAM KOTA KINABALU AND TAWAU NAVAL FORCES WEST PHILIPPINE NAVY SABAH
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