LAHAD DATU, Malaysia – The Sultanate of Sulu, saying that the group of gunmen needs time to bury their dead, is seeking a ceasefire with Malaysian security forces.
Abraham Idjirani, secretary-general of the supposed sultanate and spokesman for Sulu Ruler Sultan Jamalul Kiram III said, “Malaysia is a Muslim nation so they should understand that we need to bury our dead.”
He adds on a telephone interview from Manila on Friday, “I hope Malaysia will reconsider its position.”
The secretary-general claims that numbers in the original group of 235 people had reduced after 10 were shot dead by armed forces.
Four people were left wounded, while a woman was one of the 10 dead.
Led by Jamalul’s brother, Raja Muda Azziudie Kiram, the group was held up in the seaside village.
Azzimudie intended to hold on to his position as their purpose for storming Tanduo – to live in peace and have the Malaysian government recognise their ownership of the state – remained the same, Idjirani said.
He claimed that the Malaysian forces had attempted to dig their way in to the area at about 6:00 AM Thursday but soon withdrew.
The shoot out reportedly began at 10:30 AM.
Philippine media reported that 10 of the group, who hailed themselves as the Royal Army of Sulu, had been arrested.