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Inside Story – Sultanate of Sulu : Pawn or legacy ?

Lahad Datu: Malaysia rejects self-styled Sulu Sultan’s unilateral ceasefire


12 supporters of sultan killed in Sabah clash


Inside Story – Sultanate of Sulu : Pawn or legacy ?
by AlJazeeraEnglish

Published on Mar 6, 2013

As an armed Filipino group asserts its claim over Sabah, we analyse growing tensions over the island in Borneo. Guests: James Chinn, a professor of political science at Monash University, and a commentator on Malaysian affairs; Harry Roque, a law professor from the University of the Philippines; and Lee Jones, a senior lecturer in international politics at Queen Mary and Westfield University, and author of the book ASEAN, Sovereignty and Intervention in Southeast Asia.

by MalayaM16 

Published on Mar 7, 2013

(CNN) — A Philippine clan leader’s bizarre attempt to revive the territorial claims of a defunct Islamic sultanate on the island of Borneo appears to be falling apart.
With his followers engaged in a deadly game of cat and mouse with Malaysian security forces in the villages and palm oil plantations of northeastern Borneo, the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu is calling for a cease-fire after the U.N. secretary-general urged an end to the violence.
But Malaysia promptly rejected the proposal and said its security forces had killed more than 30 of the Filipino fighters on Thursday.

A Malaysian offensive
Malaysian authorities responded by launching an offensive using fighter jets, mortar shells and ground troops on Tuesday. They followed that up with what they called a “mopping up” operation, going house to house in the area, searching for the Filipino fighters.
But Kiram’s spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, said Wednesday that the Malaysian attack had missed its target, striking an area that the Filipino clansmen had already vacated. He claimed the group hadn’t suffered casualties.
A day later, Idjirani made the call for a cease-fire on behalf of Kiram, saying the clan was responding to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s plea for the fighting to stop.
But Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Kuala Lumpur won’t consider any request for a cease-fire as long as the armed intruders in Sabah refuse to lay down weapons unconditionally, the official news agency Bernama reported Thursday.
Later on, Ismail Omar, the head of the Malaysian Police, said security forces had killed 32 “militants” in Sabah on Thursday, including one they believed had the rank of general, according to Bernama.

12 Supporters of sultan killed in Sabah clash (Filipino news)

by TheABSCBNNews

Published on Mar 1, 2013

Nagkasalpukan na ang pwersa ng Malaysian police at grupo ng Sultanate of Sulu sa ilalim ni Rajah Muda Kiram. Ayon sa Sabah police, umabot na sa 12 ang patay sa Royal Security Forces ni Sultan Jamalul Kiram III at dalawang sundalong Malaysian naman ang nasawi. Mula sa Lahad Datu, Sabah, magba-Bandila si Henry Omaga Diaz. Bandila, Marso 1, 2013, Biyernes


Are you ready for BN? No

Psy rocks Penang Gangnam style

Ask Lord Bobo: True Malaysians and the Lowdown on Lahad Datu

26 February 2013 | Ask Lord Bobo | Posted by Ask Lord Bobo

From the Selangor Times 22 February 2013. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

There was some hoo-hah down south about what it means to be a “true Singaporean”. What do you think it means to be a “true Malaysian”? Does the 1Malaysia concept capture it? (Identity Seeker, via email)

Lord Bobo fails to understand what is behind this Earthly fascination with race or nationality.

Elsewhere in the billion galaxies, folk don’t bother about these classifications. We don’t attribute particular characteristics (other than physical ones, obviously) or stereotypes to creatures just because of where they’re from.

This is the reason why His Supreme Eminenceness has no problem wandering around freely in other planets but faces a problem on Earth, where humans seem to have an issue with a wonder typewriting monkey walking the streets.

This false homogeneity just because one happens to hold a particular passport is really quite ridiculous. You’re all human beings, why would an artificial construct of a “nation” suddenly make you different, or exactly the same?

We know you struggle with moving away from this because it has been drilled into you your whole life, but perhaps the following will help get it through your thick skulls and puny human brains.

Think of a person as a home in the making.

Say someone is born into the Malaysian Chinese demographic. If they were to not venture out of this, holding tightly to what they think makes them “Chinese” instead of exploring and embracing other cultures, it is akin to leaving a concrete foundation lying abandoned in an empty field.

For a foundation to be a building, such as a family home, it needs walls, roofing, windows, wiring, plumbing, a Lazy Boy, LoyarBurok books, Yamazaki, and all the other components to turn a concrete foundation into a home.

That’s what other cultures do to the heritage of your birth. I believe they flesh us out and develop the true human in all human beings.

So, you are not made to be homogenous and fitting the mould of a “true Malaysian”.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said: “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

Who the hell cares what it means to be Malaysian? You should busy yourself with working out what it means to be human.

What’s going on in Lahad Datu? Should we be fearing for our lives? Is Malaysia going to be invaded by enemy forces? (Real Sultan of Sulu, via email)

His Supreme Eminenceness has been having problems with the intergalactic internet connection, but no worries we have been keeping tabs with Malaysian news via the trusty mainstream newspapers. Nothing much seems to be going on in Lahad Datu.

Apparently a small group of feeble folk have holed up in a village miles away from Lahad Datu, and the good ol Datuk Seri H2O paid a visit and things are going fine. H2O even had time to pose for photos with some mean-looking guns – obviously there’s no danger over there.

We overheard some young fellas at a mamak stall complaining about the lack of firm action by the army or police, but we’re not really sure what the big deal is. The newspapers don’t think that there’s anything much worth reporting, so it must be true that nothing major is going on there.

These same young fellas (obviously ungrateful youth who don’t realise that the government has given them a platform to great futures, enabling their parents to make enough money to give them a good education) were also comparing the inaction to the overzealous actions of the police against Bersih protesters.

Now, we’ve heard all sorts of stories about what happened at Bersih, but if Lord Bobo recalls, reading the same mainstream newspaper as we were referring to earlier, isn’t Bersih that event where a crowd of rowdy punks went wild and destroyed a police car?

Young people these days obviously need to read the mainstream newspapers more often to find out the truth.

How to Get Rid of Malaysian Talent

Cass Shan reminds us again of the factors that are driving young Malaysians out of the country and draining her of talents and skills.

It’s no secret that our graduates who study overseas don’t come back.

Many skilled workers have emigrated citing social injustice (60%) and compensation (54%) as reasons for leaving this beautiful country.

Can you blame them though?

We here in Malaysia are stuck with outdated meritocracy benefits and no minimum wage, not to mention low starting pay for fresh graduates.

About 57% head off to Singapore while the rest move to the USA, UK, Australia and other countries. It has to be mentioned that non-Bumiputras make up the majority of those who have emigrated.

In place of the talents we’re losing, unskilled workers who have primary school education or less are being taken in.

The other backbone of our country? | Source:

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that we are headed towards becoming a nation of low skills.

What can we do about this devastating scenario? For one, we must acknowledge the reasons why people are leaving.

There is a lack of opportunities for locals unless they go abroad. This alone is the main factor. To address this issue, we must effect a change in our social fabric. We must recognize our talents for what they can do and not what skin colour they are born with. People who work hard for their talents and skills must be recognized for the talents and skills in themselves – not whether they carry Bumiputra status on their MyKad or otherwise.

Government bodies are most prone to this trap. More often than not, they hire Bumiputras – often neglecting more qualified non-Bumis. This is a fact that I’ve witnessed myself: A friend of mine was the only one with experience among a group of fresh graduates applying for a job at a government body and she was not selected. It also goes to show how far backwards we are as she was castigated for wearing a cross to work.

The entire episode unfortunately displays the low mentality of government bodies when it comes to selecting staff. ‘Skills’ do not seem to actually come into their consideration.

I also personally know of a highly talented Malaysian who was denied the top post of a government agency simply because of his skin colour. He earns a top-tier salary and pulls his weight but was denied the post simply because a certain quota had to be fulfilled.

How do we expect smart graduates who have left to return, when we flatly deny them their right to fair employment?

Opportunity must present itself based on merit and not race. For too long the race card has been played on to us. The time to dismantle race-based policies is long overdue.

And then there is the issue of salaries.

Take a quick glance at Jobstreet’s salary report and you’ll see how low the average salary is. A fresh graduate is only able to earn about RM2,000 p/m while a manager in a small company will only make RM4,000 p/m on average (though this increases with the size of the company).

For some, this is fine-dining | Source:

With living costs having risen exponentially in recent years, how are we expected to eke out a decent living with these figures? Those who want to pursue their Masters must either take up the PTPTN loan or earn a scholarship (or work in Singapore for a while – which is what one of my friends did).

Larger companies fork out RM2,000-3,000 for a simple customer service position and RM6,000 for Assistant Manager roles. Since most middle-class Malaysians earn within this average, it’s easy to see how one would be hard-pressed to afford a house, especially since property prices continue to skyrocket.

For example, a condominium today costs roughly about RM450,000 – translating to a RM45,000 downpayment. With an average salary of RM4,000, one may perhaps save RM500 p/m (after deducting expenses) and take up to 90 months to save up for a condominium. That’s 7.5 years! How would young married couples cope with such costs?

Corporations and businesses must increase the wage in tandem with the cost of living. This ensures quality staff and better productivity. It’s the norm that employees hate their jobs and simply do them as a means to an end. Where are the days where employees were passionate about their work? How does a company rise without its people?

It should be in the company’s vision to ensure that staff are paid well enough to house and feed themselves. This is not even scratching the surface of the problem as there are many other Malaysians who earn less than RM3,000 or even RM1,500 for the matter. If we were to broach that part of the subject – we’d be able to understand why Malaysians would opt to leave the country at the first opportunity.

In summary, the diaspora exists and will most likely grow due to the factors that have been discussed. To reverse the outflow of talent, we desperately need to look at the key issues involved.  Then drive home changes that will bring our best and brightest home to serve and develop this nation.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sabah: Ground Zero

Sabah – A prized catch

Gabungan Pribumi Prihatin Sabah (Coalition of Concerned Sabah Natives)

The incident involving a large group of Sulu warriors (Royal Army of Sulu) currently locked in a standoff with Malaysian authorities at Lahad Datu in Sabah is not merely about the Sultanate of Sulu enforcing its ancestral claims on Sabah.

Do not be misled as this current unfolding of events is the beginning of a much sinister ploy. Sabah is ground zero in a conspiracy perpetrated by very powerful entities and the Filipino Muslims rebels currently at standoff with Malaysian authorities are merely pawns in a game where lives are ‘meant’ to be lost for a deceptive cause. Claims that Sulu warriors landed in Sabah because the Sulu Sultanate was left out of the recent peace process brokered by Malaysia between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippines Government is NOT REALLY THE FACT!
The following are some facts and evidence that reveal why Sabah is Ground Zero:


This ship – USS GUARDIAN – ran aground in Tubbataha Reefs in Philippines on Jan 17, 2013.
The USS Guardian, after it ran aground in Tubbataha Reefs is pictured on Jan. 17, 2013, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command.

This ship was ‘deliberately’ made to sail off-course. Imagine with the latest equipment on board and having sailed through the same route many times, this minesweeper ship was unable to differentiate the reefs from the waters.

Despite being warned repeatedly by Tubbataha Reef Marine Rangers, the USS Guardian commander refused to listen and stop.

He even ordered his crew to get into ‘battle position’ when the rangers tried to get on board to make a routine inspection on the ship after it ran aground.

Until today, it remains a mystery: Why were they even near Tubbataha? The Sulu Sea is so vast, and it takes hours from Puerto Princesa to reach it. Why couldn’t they see it when they had all the state-of-the-art maps and navigation systems?” asked Jose Ma. Lorenzo, World Wildlife Fund-Philippines chief executive officer.

THIS is what Philippines Department of Transportation and Communication SecretaryJoseph Emilio Abaya said of the US Sailors on board USS Guardian:  “Some say they probably enjoyed too much of an RnR in Subic, some said error in digital charts, some say they were doing a different thing there on their own…..”

In other words, the Secretary was trying to imply that USS Guardian was running its own ‘clandestine’ operation.

(For further read on the USS GUARDIAN issue, please go to:
Could it be that this incident created a smokescreen for some other activities to take place in the Sulu Sea and adjoining Celebs Sea?

* The date of the incident was Jan 17, 2013.

* Members of the self-styled Royal Army of Sulu invaded Sabah on Feb 11, 2013, which is 24 days later.
There was a flurry of activities involving US ships as well as rescue and salvage ships in the Sulu Sea since the Jan 17 incident at Tubbahata Reef region. As a matter of fact, the crew on board USS Guardian were quickly rescued and whisked away to a Japan safe zone. Why were they not brought to Philippines which is the most logical thing to do? Could it be that all this activities that ensued in the Sulu Sea could have provided an opening for hundreds of speed boats with Sulu warriors to sail into Sabah undetected?

Something is just not right with the USS Guardian.

Philippines Senator Antonio ‘Sonny’ Fuentes Trillanes IV,
a former Navy Lieutenant is the man who knows exactly what is going on Sabah.
Trillanes IV (born 6 August 1971 in Manila, Philippines) is a Philippine military and political figure. (You can find his details in Wikipedia). He is best known for his role in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny when he and a group of 321 armed soldiers took over the Oakwood apartment towers in Makati City, lined them with bombs and threatened to demolish them because they were tired of corruption in the army and called for the ousting of then-President Gloria Aroyo. He is an incumbent Senator of the Philippines, the first Philippine Senator to be elected while in jail.

Now, he has called on President Aquino’s administration to make known its policy on the country’s claim to Sabah and on the standoff between Malaysian security forces and a group of armed warriors loyal to Sultan of Sulu in the eastern Malaysian territory.

Trillanes was President Aquino’s backchannel link to Beijing at the height of tensions between the Philippines and China over a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) last year. Trillanes, as told to reporters in Manila recently, is the person responsible for directly briefing President Aquino on the Sabah situation. But some in Philippines claim he is a double agent.

He is known to get things done by playing to Washington’s tune. When he was advising Aquino during the tensions with China, he did his job fairly well by getting sound advice from the Americans while sweet talking to the Chinese at the same time. Leaked diplomatic cables reveal that one or two American special agents will always be trailing Trillanes each time he met with top Chinese Government officials, be it in China or Manila, during the crisis negotiations. And the Chinese probably knew it too, but they were busy playing their own games with the Americans and the Filipinos.

Regarding the standoff issue in Sabah, Trillanes was quoted as saying: “It was high time the Department of Foreign Affairs articulated the government’s policy on Sabah. Until then we’ll have to withhold further comment because this is a very sensitive issue and it involves the lives of our countrymen in Sabah”.

It appears that Trillanes knows that some lives could be lost in the Sabah standoff.

3. Toothless Tiger  Grows FANGS
Sultan Jamalul Kiram III has been a toothless tiger for
a very long time as he is plagued by a lot of problems, from family infightings,
health issues, financial difficulty and rivals claiming his throne,
more than a dozen to speak.
Sultan Jamalul Kiram III has been a toothless tiger for a very long time as he is plagued by a lot of problems, from family infightings, health issues, financial difficulty and rivals claiming his throne, more than a dozen to speak.
One just has to read to catch a glimpse of how many ‘sultans’ are claiming the one throne in Sulu.

Jamalul Kiram knows his kingdom is not safe in his hands, and he suffers from liver ailment as well as other illnesses, and lives in constant fear that someone will poison him to claim his throne.

But then, suddenly, the toothless tiger Jamalul Kiram grows fangs and claws. He orders his troops, helmed by his crown prince, to invade Sabah knowing very well that the full might of the Malaysian army will be upon his men.

How did this happen? Any by the way, Jamalul Kiram is still undergoing treatment at a Manila hospital for liver ailment.

This begs the question, who is behind Jamalul Kiram’s renewed vigour in claiming Sabah?

Who gave money to the Sulu warriors aka ROYAL SULU ARMY to buy speed boats, fuel, food, clothes and weapons that include M16 and M14 rifles, M16 carbines and M203 grenade launchers?

This only means one thing –


And the troops that came in via sea were taken in and cared by those living in Sabah, reinforcing the fact that sleeper cells have been activated. Sleeper cells are activated when orders are given to them together with funds as proof of an assignment’s authenticity.

4. Sulu Royalties Seek AMERICAN Help To Claim Sabah

While poor old Sultan Jamalul Kiram is having it hard in the Philippines, six of his close relatives and heirs are living the American dream. They reportedly have become American citizens.

Upon receiving news that their patriarch is mounting a challenge to reclaim Sabah, Jamalul Kiram’s relatives, nephews and nieces are very excited. They are so excited with the prospects of reclaiming Sabah that they now want the United States and President Barack Obama to help Sultan Jamalul Kiram with his claim.

Former Senator Santanina Rasul, one of  Jamalul Kiram’s relatives and heirs who lay claim over Sabah, told journalists that one of her sons, Abraham Rasul Jr is an American citizen and has right to claim his share in the inheritance of Sabah.

The articles on Sulu Sultan heirs to ask US help on Sabah can be read here:

5. Did PKR duo find facts on CONMAN in Manila or did they learn more?
In early February 2013, two PKR politicians from Malaysian went to Manila to probe on Aman Futures Group conman Manuel Amalilion who defrauded Filipinos of 12 billion pesos in a Ponzi scheme.
The duo told Malaysians that they are going to Manila on a fact finding mission on Manuel Amalilio and his Aman Futures Group. They took a Friday night flight, stayed in Manila on Saturday and returned to KL the following day.

The Question is – why did they go to Manila on a fact finding mission when almost 99% of victims swindled by Amalilio were in the Mindanao and Visayas regions? After all, Manuel’s office and centre of operations was in Pagadian City, a city that is1,113km away from Manila.

What were they actually doing in Manila?

Did they meet a CIA agent there under instructions from Anwar Ibrahim’s American contact, or did they meet an agent of Nur Misuari, leader of rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)?
Or did they meet an agent of Sultan Jamalul Kiram?

After all, the Sultan is undergoing dialysis treatment in a hospital in Manila. Indeed, hours after landing in Manila, they did meet someone who resembled a special agent. It’s no secret that PKR boss has very close ties with the CIA as well as Philippine rebel groups, and is in a position to help US set up a Navy base in Sabah should his coalition form the new federal government (Read


Before we explain further, please read the court proceeding in Philippines as reported in:

Manuel Amalilio was under the radar of Philippines internal security agency for supporting terrorism activities. After all, he took thousands of Filipino Muslims to the dry cleaners by promising to double up their money with his preposterous scam. Many Filipino Muslims supported him because he projected a greater cause, which is to make the poor Filipino Muslim community wealthier.

He was often seen praying five times a day and making frequent quotes from the Holy Quran while speaking to investors.

“Philippines Justice Secretary De Lima confirmed the National Bureau of Investigations received intelligence information stating that the multi-billion peso windfall from Aman’s (futures group) pyramiding scheme is being used to finance the activities of a terrorist group”.

The above is the actual quote from justice secretary Leila Magistrado De Lima as reported in Philippines media after syndicated estafa charges were filed on Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co and his wife Priscilla Ann in the wake of the Aman Futures Group Scam end of last year. That is the actual reason why Malaysian police scrambled to stop the deportation of the conman at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on Jan 25, 2013.

 Manuel Amalilio was in a position to provide Malaysian security forces with valuable information on terrorists/rebel groups such as Abu Sayyaf, MNLF and the Royal Sulu Army that could threaten the security in the region.

So despite knowing it would turn out to be a public relations disaster, Malaysian Authorities proceeded to block Manuel’s deportation. The backlash received by Malaysian Authorities was severe but nonetheless, it was justifiable and worth the trouble. During interrogation, Manuel has spilled the beans on who he was feeding the money to, and it appears that he is not only a conman, but an enemy to the state of Sabah.

Dozens of payment from these banks (list provided by Philippines Justice Department) indicate that they could have found its way to the hands of terrorist and rebel groups that wanted to derail the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement for peace.

Among the banks covered by the freeze order (on Aman Group’s assets) were the Land Bank of the Philippines; Bank of the Philippine Islands; Banco de Oro; Unibank; Allied Bank; Bank of Commerce; BPI Family Savings Bank; China Banking Corp.; Citibank, NA; Development Bank of the Philippines, East West Bank; Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corp.; Metrobank; One Network Bank; Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Company; Philippine Bank of Communication; Philippine Savings Bank; RCBC; Security Bank; Standard Chartered Bank; Union Bank; UCPB; and Philippine National Bank.


The standoff in Sabah, and its timing, validates the fact that powerful, unseen hands are behind it.

There is a resemblance to many uprisings in the world!

Through highly specialised covert operations, the Government of many countries have fallen.

And often, these clandestine operations are carried out by private defence contractors and mercenaries appointed by the US Government.

The situation in Sabah is no different.


Sabah, it appears, is a prized catch.

For the American, there is a dire need to enhance and strengthen their military presence in the Southeast Asia region, especially to contain China’s rising power. After Philippines closed its doors on US Clark Naval Base, America has since been looking for another base, ideally in the South China Sea.

Getting its ‘hands’ on Sabah by backing a new Government that will bend to its wishes will be the ideal scenario for US. There will be a lot of spill-over effects. It should also be noted that Sabah has oil and gas reserves as big as Kuwait’s.

Besides, there are abundant natural resources and vast mineral deposits such as coal, gold, copper, limestone and etc.

As for some Opposition politicians in Malaysia, the fall of Sabah will signify the ruling coalition, one of the oldest Governments in the world, losing its fixed deposit and hence losing power after a rule of 50 over years.


The standoff in Sabah has all the trademarks of a cleverly orchestrated plan to topple the current administrators of Sabah with influence from world superpowers. The Sulu Sultanate claim is just a smokescreen.

Common sense will show, if Sulu Sultanate wanted to claim back Sabah, why only NOW ???

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tortured, Beheaded and Mutilated

SEMPORNA: Reports reaching The Borneo Insider suggest that at least three of the policemen killed in Semporna after clashes with an armed group, were tortured and their bodies mutilated. One was also beheaded.

However, the bodies of three others, who were believed to have died after being hit by the crossfire, were left untouched.

A group of 19 policemen, who were in the raiding party at Simunul on Saturday night, who were initially reported “missing” and then “trapped” was probably held hostage by the gunmen at several houses in the area.

They were said to have been relieved of their guns as well as hand phones. This group too was left unharmed, though at least one of them suffered wounds, probably in the Saturday night shoot-out.

But police are not willing to confirm anything, especially the torture and mutilation of the three policemen, except say that the 19 others who were initially “trapped” had been released unharmed.

On Saturday, armed intruders were initially spotted at Lorong 4 and Lorong 5 in Simunul, a cluster of water villages, comprising mainly Suluk and Tausug people, with or without Malaysian documents.

Police were called in and about 50 policemen were said to have walked into an ambush where a shootout also took place.

On Sunday, police said six policemen and six armed men were killed in the shootout.

On Monday, the bodies of three of the gunmen were still seen at various places in Simunul while there was no sight of the other three bodies.

It was only after 1.00pm Monday that some 30 residents of Kampung Simunul took the initiative to remove the bodies of the three intruders and handed it over to the authorities.

Village headman Ramli Saraman said they had to remove the bodies because the stench had become unbearable.

Ramli advised the villagers not to believe rumours spread by irresponsible people because they could worsen the situation.

“I was told by villagers that the intruders will burn down Simunul but I told them not to believe as I keep in touch with the police.”

He said villagers are not compelled to evacuate their homes because it is their right as individuals adding peace has returned to the kampung.

Later, when met by reporters, some Simunul villagers sad they were horrified on hearing that one of six dead police personnel was beheaded and two others were tortured.

“It is against our religion to behead anyone. It is terrible, it’s cruel,’’ said fisherman Azmi who has been living close to Lorong 5, Simunul where the shooting began.

“We are Suluks living here for more than 50 years. They (armed men) are bad people ,’’ said a woman who was referring to the gunmen.

Their sentiments were shared by other villagers who claimed that they have also heard that one of the gunmen had recorded the beheading on his mobile phone and had sent a clip to the police.

However, no confirmation was available on the phone clip or the torture of the three who had gone with a team of 56 to check out information that Sulu Sultan sympathisers had stored weapons in one of the stilt houses.

Police sources said that as they approached a house at about 7pm, shooting broke out with the gunmen in a house at lorong 5 of the sprawling seaside squatter settlement of over 500 houses.

At least, 19 of the police personnel were trapped for 48-hours till about 6.30pm on Sunday when a strike force painstakingly concluded a house-to-house search for snipers, booby traps and possible bombs strapped to the dead bodies.

Police declared the Simunul incident as resolved at 9pm on Sunday and announced that all their policemen were accounted for with six of their men dead and six gunmen killed.

As far as the villagers are concerned, this is the first time they have heard of a beheading and Semporna district officer Abdul Mohd Ibnu Abdul Kadir concurred with it.

“It is their culture,’’ said Mohd Ibnu when asked if revenge could be behind the beheading.

Three of the bodies of the six killed gunmen were left lying – one in a boat, one on the walkway and the third on a veranda – at the village until 1pm yesterday (Monday) when religious department officers took them away for burial at an undisclosed location.

Several villagers claimed that they recognised one of the dead gunmen to be a councillor of Pulau Sitangkai in southern Philippines who frequents the village to stay with relatives, while the other two looked like locals living with them.

“I am quite sure he is a councillor,’’ said one of the villagers who added that they had not seen the three remaining bodies of the gunmen.

They said police had also arrested a Ustaz and another local Suluk living along Lorong Lima  for alleged links to the gunmen, several of whom reportedly had been in the village in early February.

Police are still hunting for members of the group which might have slipped out of Simunul as initial reports indicated there about dozen or more in the group at the village.

The plank floor and floors of several houses were splattered with blood close to where the bodies were left and no uniformed security personnel were seen in the areas yesterday as hundreds of families packed their household goods, including furniture, televisions and fridges and bolted to safety.

The villagers said that they were scared to return, and were moving to live with relatives as they were unsure if the place will be safe again.

Although the villagers, who were mostly Suluks who fled the Moro civil war in southern Philippines in the 1970s and had  settled in Simunul which included a refugee settlement of the UNHCR, they have maintained close family across the border.

In afternoon, Semporna town was deserted again from 1.30pm when businesses and shops pulled down the shutters as police were seen rushing Kg Salimbangun not far from Kg Simunul.

One villager claimed shots were heard around 3.30pm and the remaining villagers left the area.

Security forces rushed to take up defensive positions at strategic locations in town, especially the Marine Police and district Police buildings.

Later in Lahad Datu, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar categorically denied that one of the policemen who perished in Simunul had been beheaded.

“We have seen some pictures but I have not seen the police report yet,” he said, and declined to comment further.

He also denied rumours of a ‘possible traitor’ among the security forces.

“No, it is not true,” he said when asked to clarify on the detaining of a member of the security forces for suspicion in leaking information to the enemies.

He however described it as a challenge for the Royal Malaysian of Police.

“And when things like this happen, more untrue stories will spill out. I believe it is just another way to demoralise the police force, but we believe that we are not easily fooled,” he said.

By Alexander Chen


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