Escape from Sabah
5,000 residents have fled to Mindanao since KL’s anti-Kiram campaign
About 5,000 people have been displaced because of the violence between supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysian security forces, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council announced on Saturday.
In an advisory issued at 6 a.m. of Saturday, the NDRRMC said 944 families, about 4,983 people, have fled Sabah to the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to escape fresh skirmishes taking place in the strife-torn town of Lahad Datu in northeastern Borneo.
The disaster agency issued the advisory a few hours before Sabah police chief Hamza Taib announced in a news conference in Lahad Datu that the Malaysian police’s clearing operation, dubbed Operasi Daulat, will not be terminated until they are certain all of Kiram’s supporters have been flushed out of the areas where they are still holed up.
“(The end of the operations) depends on the security situation in the targeted areas and the operations involved,” Hamza was quoted as saying by the Malaysia state news agency Bernama.
“We know that they are out there,” Hamza said, adding that since Operasi Daulat was launched 26 days ago, security forces have killed 68 Kiram supporters, arrested 443 others =for various offences and 121 more under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act of 2012.
He said the Malaysian authorities have not determined when to end the operations because the fight against the terrorists had spread as far as Semporna and Sandakan, apart from Lahad Datu.
Hamza said, however, there are at least 10 more Kiram supporters in the Lahad Datu village of Felda Sahabat although two other villages, Tanjung Batu and Tanjung Labian, have been cleared of intruders and are under Malaysia police control.
“We will continue to deploy security personnel in villages which have been cleared, including Sungai Nyamuk and Kampung Tanduo, and we will conduct general policing to restore villagers’ confidence,” Hamza added.
Meanwhile, the NDRRMC said in its bulleting that the Department of Health has allocated more than P1,1 million worth of medical supplies for the refugees who fled Sabah.
Of the 4,983 refugees, 2,903 were adults and 2,080 were children, the NDRRMC added.
To attend to the daily health needs of the refugees, the DOH has fielded seven medical teams to the three provinces.
At least 38 suspected members of Kiram’s Royal Security Force were arrested by Philippine authorities in Tawi-Tawi last March 13 and are now detained at Camp Juan Magluyan, the Philippine Navy camp in Batu-Batu in Tawi-Tawi.
The 38 were charged with illegal possession of firearms, election gun ban violation and inciting to war, the NDRRMC said.
There had been continued influx of refugees from Sabah due to hostilities progressing in different areas in Lahad Datu as Malaysian police backed by ground military units search for Raja Muda Agbimuddin without let up.
But sources close to the Kiram family claimed the some elements of the Royal Security Force are still scattered all over Lahad Datu and vowed they would continue to assert the sultanate’s claim to Sabah.
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