MALAYSIAN forces and followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram on Friday clashed as the rest of the Muslim community celebrated Eid ul Fitr or the end of Ramadan.
Kiram’s spokesman Abraham Idjirani on Sunday said that eight members of the Malaysian forces were killed after they were ambushed by at least 50 members of the Sultanate’s Royal Security Force (RSF) and volunteers headed by Utuh Ubie, RSF’s top officer. The incident was reported by the Sultan’s brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who leads the 1,600-strong RSF still holed up in Sabah to renew their claim on the territory.
The ambush happened on Friday at Felda area in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
Idjirani, who is also the secretary general of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, said that although the RSF always takes a defensive position, they decided to ambush the Malaysian forces lest they be outnumbered.
“The Malaysians’ operations were a total violation of the principles of Islam. So the RSF decided to attack,” he added.
Prior to the incident, Idjirani said a relative of Raja Muda who is residing in Lahad Datu informed the latter that the Malaysian forces will stage new attacks against the RSF. The group of Raja Muda was likewise informed that the Malaysian forces have intensified their coastal perimeter defense from Tawau to Sandakan after receiving reports that more Kiram fighters were set to sail to Sabah to join the fight in reclaiming the island.
To reassert its claim on Sabah, Idjirani said the Sultanate would be sending Bangsa Suluk volunteers from Mindanao to join the RSF. The volunteer fighters, he added, will come from Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
At least 29 Filipinos, including Kiram’s nephew, are facing trial for their intrusion into Sabah, where 68 RSF men and 10 Malaysian soldiers were killed last March.