Skip to main content

Malaysia threatens 'drastic' steps in Borneo siege


Malaysia threatened Saturday to take "drastic action" against intruding followers of a self-proclaimed Filipino sultan who have vowed to dig in following a shootout that killed 14 people.
Twelve followers of the little-known sultan of Sulu and two Malaysian security personnel were killed in Friday's firefight, police said, as the more than two-week-old siege in a remote corner of Malaysia turned deadly.
Dozens of Filipinos have been holed up on Borneo island, surrounded by a massive Malaysian police and military cordon, since landing by boat from the nearby Philippines to insist the area belongs to their Islamic leader.
"We want them to surrender immediately. If they don't, they will face drastic action," Hamza Taib, police chief of the Malaysian state of Sabah where the drama was taking place, told AFP.
He declined to provide details of what security forces had in store but his comments echoed growing Malaysian impatience with the situation.
In Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino urged the gunmen to surrender immediately.
"To those who have influence and the capacity to reason with (the sultan's followers), I ask you to convey this message: surrender now, without conditions," he said in a statement.
The Filipinos, who are estimated to number between 100 and 300, sailed from their remote islands to press Jamalul Kiram III's claim to Sabah.
Kiram, 74, claims to be the heir to the Islamic sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of the southern Philippines and a portion of Borneo.
In an immediate response to President Aquino's appeal, Kiram's spokesman Abraham Idjirani said the gunmen would remain in Sabah.
"We have spoken: It's honour over lives," he said, adding that the deaths of the sultan's followers have "only strengthened our resolve to defend the rights of the Filipino people over Sabah".
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose government has been embarrassed by the security breach, said doors for negotiation are closed and urged the gunmen to surrender.
"The Sulu rebels have to surrender or they will face the action of our security forces," he was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper
While it is not clear how the firefight erupted, Najib said the two police officers were gunned down after walking into a trap.
"I was told some Sulu gunmen had waved the white flag but when the Malaysian forces moved in, they were fired upon instead," he said.
Muslim-majority Malaysia had previously avoided tough talk, expressing hope the intruders would leave peacefully.
But now even if they give up, they will face Malaysian prosecution, Hamza said, after he met with Malaysia's home minister and other top security officials.
Local residents were staying indoors and the usually bustling coastal town of Lahad Datu -- the area's only major town, about 150 kilometres from the standoff site -- was quiet with most shops closed on Saturday.
The Sulu sultanate's power faded about a century ago but it has continued to receive nominal payments from Malaysia for Sabah under a historical lease arrangement passed down from European colonial powers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
M. Jegathesan | AFP News | March 2, 2013 | Article Link

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

AFP Modernization 2017: Highlights and Review

The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was on a roll this year, as we've seen a few big ticket items having completely delivered this year. Game changers as they say, these new assets have proven their capabilities both in combat and humanitarian missions.

Here's a brief on everything what we know about the AFP modernization this 2017.

Philippine Air Force  FA-50PH


The final batch of the FA-50PH Lead-In Fighter Trainers have been successfully delivered by the Korean Aerospace Industries last May. The last batch of 2 arrived on May 31st at Clark Air Base. The contract consist of 12 FA-50's at the price of Php 18.9 billion. AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla mentioned on a March 23 article in Inquirer that there are plans to purchase 6 more additional FA-50's if the funding allows it and if the performance is good.

FA-50PH Weapons - AIM-9 Air-to-air Missiles
Aside from the aircraft itself the Department of National Defense also ordered AIM-9

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

2 deliveries in 2018 to beef up Philippine Navy's capability

Two more platforms which will help boost the Philippine Navy (PN)'s capabilities to defend the country's vast maritime domains are expected to be delivered this 2018. This was bared by Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong when sought for an update on other deliverable items for the PN this year.
3 MPAC mk3's with Spike ER System This has been discussed already in the AFP Modernization 2017 Highlights article.  

First among the deliverables is the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd's Spike ER (extended range) missile systems which will be fitted on three of the Navy's brand-new multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) which was activated last May 22.

The weapons are on anti-ship mode meaning it can engage surface vessel targets and is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles. And while not giving the exact dates for the delivery of the missiles and its platforms for security purpose, Andolong said the…