KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Armed group of Filipinos who are in Sabah are facing shortage of food and hopelessness, after being held up at Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, since February 12, as reported today on Utusan Malaysia.
According to the daily, the 150-odd men are now dependent on the vegetation there, leading to internal dissension.
But the paper also reported that the situation in Kampung Tanduo is under control following several rounds of talks and there is a good chance of an end to the standoff soon.
Source reportedly said, “They are now at a critical stage due to the food shortage over the past week after authorities tightened control over the perimeter to a distance of 300m.” Also source adds that some members admitted to becoming demoralized during negotiation.
Source further claims, “They would have surrendered but Azzumudie had threatened them.” The deadline has passed for them to leave the area today.
According to the source, “The group is now left with only one choice and that is to surrender. We will then send them all back to the Philippines. But if they still want to stay put, we are fully prepared (to act).”
Marc Skubich, former Honorary Royal Dato a Romapenet of North Borneo and former representative in Europe of Sultan Esmail D. Kiram II of Sulu emails manila channel and expressing his thoughts on the standoff.
Skubich says, “My strong disapproval and deepest concern regarding the people suffering from this event and the uncontrollable dangers that arise from it” he continues, “All we can do now, is hope that they realize what they are doing.”
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for Sabah and Labuan changes its standard operating procedures (SOP) in light of the incident, Bernama reports.
Upgrades in the agency’s role will require an increase in manpower, improvement in the gathering of information and intelligence, says the MMEA commander First Admiral (Maritime) Karunanithi Munusamy.
He reportedly said, “Nevertheless, we are guarding a stretch of about 1,400km of the coastline and there will be some unmanaged waters.”