Sulu sultan’s nephew arrested in Sabah
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/03/25/923717/sulu-sultans-nephew-arrested-sabahMANILA, Philippines - A nephew of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III said to be one of the leaders of the group that occupied Lahad Datu in Sabah was arrested early yesterday, Malaysia’s The Star Online reported.
Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 50, and his wife Gina Taves Kiram, 47, were cornered by the police in a swampy area in Kampung Sri Melor Bugaya, Semporna.
Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani confirmed Amirbahar is the son of Bantilan Sultan Ismael Kiram, the younger brother of Jamalul III.
He said Amirbahar is a resident of Sabah, a fact that was confirmed by reports from Malaysian news agencies that identified him as a “local.”
Malaysia’s New Straits Times quoted Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying the Kiram couple coordinated and supplied the needs of the gunmen that occupied Lahad Datu on Feb. 12.
Khalid said Amirbahar is a key player in the incursion, along with the sultan’s younger brother Agbimuddin Kiram, who is believed to have fled to Mindanao earlier this month.
Malaysia’s The Star Online also quoted Defense Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that Agbimuddin is a Malaysian citizen who had worked as a civil servant in Sabah.
Mercenaries Zahid also described the gunmen that fought alongside the Kirams as mercenaries.
He said this was corroborated by the Philippine government following a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
“We received similar feedback from the Philippine government that the armed men were paid to carry out the attacks in Sabah. We have learned that they are used to carrying weapons and have done so since the 1970s during the armed struggle helmed by Nur Misuari, the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front,” Zahid told The Star Online.
Zahid said the intruders never left home unarmed.
“They would carry machine guns like we carry cell phones,” he added.
Zahid said Agbimuddin worked as assistant district officer in Kudat when Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun was Sabah chief minister. Mustapha was chief minister between 1967 and 1975.
“He was given Malaysian citizenship during Tun Mustapha’s time. However, I can’t say whether he is still a Malaysian citizen,” Zahid said.
He also denied claims that there was a plot by the Malaysian government to assassinate the Sulu sultan.
Zahid said Kiram should not worry and gave assurance that Malaysia had no plans to intrude into the Philippines to get him.
Zahid, however, urged the sultan to pull back his men from Sabah.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said his ministry would work with foreign intelligence agencies, including the Philippines’ National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, to investigate the people behind the intrusion and ensure justice is carried out.
“We will strengthen the cooperation among the network of intelligence agencies in countries, including Indonesia, to ensure that stability and security in the region are not compromised, and prevent the infiltration of terrorists.”