A Philippine diplomatic official has confirmed that Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who led the Sulu Sultanate’s Royal Security Force (RSF) in a three-week standoff with Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu last March, is no longer in Sabah but has gone back to Jolo, Sulu, where he is reportedly being sheltered by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“He is back on our side of the frontier and has escaped the dragnet,” said the senior diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said the last time Rajah Muda was sighted was in Tawi-Tawi by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) personnel. Intelligence reports they received corroborated this information, he added.
The diplomatic official further revealed that Sabah is now under the full control of Malaysian authorities and that not a single member of RSF remained there.
“There’s no more RSF in Sabah,” he said. “Either they were totally decimated by the Malaysian forces or have already escaped back to Sulu.”
Likewise, the source disclosed that Malaysian authorities already wrapped-up pursuit operations against suspected RSF members and sympathizers in Sabah. Charges have since been filed against those arrested numbering around 50 in relation to the “incursion” incident.
Those arrested were charged for violating two articles in Malaysia’s Penal Code: Section 122 (waging war against the King); and Section 130 KA (terrorism).
While Section 130 KA (terrorism) calls for a jail term of up to 30 years, Section 121 (waging war against the King) can fetch the death penalty.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said they have tapped the services of a Malaysian lawyer, one of the few Asian legal practitioners accredited by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, to represent the RSF members who were arrested.
Malaya said trial will commence in September in Kuala Lumpur.