Zamboanga crisis feared to spillover into SabahSeptember 10, 2013 5:36 pm FEARING that the on-going clashes in Zamboanga City might spillover into Sabah, the Malaysian armed forces have tightened security along the coastal boarders in the disputed territory.
Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Director General Datuk Mohammad Mentek said the heightened security alert was issued to prevent the spillover of clashes into Sabah.
“Esscom is coordinating checks with our security forces following the incident,” Mohammad was quoted by Malaysian news agency Star Online.
He added that Malaysian security forces have taken up measures to strengthen the sea borders between Malaysia and Philippines.
But the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo spokesman Abraham Idjirani downplayed Malaysia’s apprehension that Misuari and his forces will try to escape towards Sabah.
“Nur Misuari is an enemy of the Malaysian government. If ever he will withdraw [from Zamboanga City], definitely it’s not in Sabah,” Idjirani said.
Idjirani noted that Misuari had escaped to Sabah during the failed rebellion of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Sulu and Zamboanga in 2001 but the Malaysian government quickly deported him to the Philippines.
Misuari had also openly supported the Sulu Sultanate during the Sabah crisis early this year and had even sent MNLF fighters to back up Kiram’s forces. Kiram and Misuari are both Tausugs.
Idjirani said the increased security around Sabah was confirmed on Monday night by Kiram’s brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who was still in Sabah commanding the 1,600-strong RSF unit that remained in the territory.
“He [Agbimuddin] called up last night to confirm that the Malaysian military in Sabah is on full alert. But he said they will not make any move and will remain in defensive posture only,” he said.
Idjirani said Agbimuddin sympathizes with Misuari’s cause but he deplored the use of violence, especially on the civilian population of Zamboanga City.
“The Sultanate and the RSF are focused in our own struggle to reclaim Sabah. We do not want outside interference,” the sultanate official added.
Sabah’s close proximity to the southern Philippines has raised fears that members of MNLF who have been laying siege in Zamboanga City might escape towards Sabah to evade capture by the Philippine military. RITCHIE A. HORARIO
15 Filipinos Held, 10 Million Pesos Seized Off SempornaSEMPORNA, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Armed Forces' Joint Task Force (ATB 2) detained 15 trespassing Filipino men and seized 10 million pesos (about RM730,000) from them in an operation in the waters off Pulau Denawan, Semporna, early Tuesday.
The men, aged between 22 and 49, were held after the boat they were in was intercepted by a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) team of the ATB 2 at about 3 am, said ATB 2 Headquarters media relations officer Major Mohammed Fahmi Ishak.
"At about 12.30 am, a QRF team patrolling the Ops Pasir area received a tip-off about a boat near Pulau Denawan. The QRF team led by QRF Company chief Major Rozaimi Mohamad managed to intercept and stop the boat at 3 am," he said in a statement.
An inspection of the boat revealed that the Filipino men on board, including the crew, had valid travel documents and they had with them 10 million pesos in a bundle, apparently to buy foodstuff, especially rice, in Tawau.
"The boat had trespassed into the operational area, resulting in it being detained," Mohammed Fahmi said.
He said the boat was towed to the military jetty at the Azumi Camp in Semporna and a police report was lodged at the Semporna district police headquarters.
The arrested men were handed over to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for further action, he added.