Below are updates on Lahad Datu from 11-28 February 2013
For the past one month, news portals have been buzzing with news of Lahad Datu. Along with the facts, there are many negative rumours circulating that Malaysia is at war. To clear things up, we have compiled a timeline of activities that has been happening since day one at Lahad Datu. This timeline will be updated as often as possible with facts from various valid news portals in Malaysia.
On 11 February 2013, a group of local fisherman lodged a police report, stating that they had seen about a 100 armed men in army uniforms setting up camp in Kampung Tandou. According to reports, the armed men were believed to have entered Malaysia by sea two days earlier (9 February), and were gathering in stages at Felda Sahabat 17, Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu.
The very next day, 12 February, the armed men begin breaking into smaller groups and entered several places such as the village surau, Sungai Bakau village and a house belonging to a person named Ahmad Malandi.
On Valentine’s Day, 14 February, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, released a statement saying the government will try its best to negotiate with the intruders.
- The group identified themselves by saying they were the Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate from southern Philippines. They said they did not want their people of the Sulu descent to be sent back to their country of origin.
- Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, said that negotiations were on-going with the intruders to find the best solutions.
On 16 February, Malaysia’s Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, announced that he had confirmation that the intruders were not a militant or terrorist group, but a strong supporter of the Sulu Sultanate.
- The group, who wants to be known as the Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate, claimed Sabah belongs to them. They said that Sabah was seized by the British from the Sulu government. They insisted that the state (Sabah) must be returned to them as a territory of the Sulu Sultanate.
On 24 February, as a humanitarian mission, the Philippine government sent a boat to ferry the 180 armed personnel, including the 30 armed guards stationed in Lahad Datu.
By 26 February, the deadline by the Malaysian government to expel the group had passed, but negotiations were still being carried out.
After more than 3 weeks, on 28 February, the Malaysian government were told to negotiate with Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in Manila. This information came from Sultan Jamalul’s youngest brother, Agbimuddin Kiram, who said that only his brother (Sultan Jamalul) can order the royal army group to leave Lahad Datu.
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