Sometime in the evening on Tuesday, 12th February, around 100 members of the Moro National Liberation Front under the command of Nur Misuari, infiltrated Sabah’s maritime border and landed at Kampung Tanduao, Tanjung Labian in Lahad Datu. Led by Haji Musa, an aide of Prince Mohammad Ismail A Kiram, fourth son of Sultan Muhammad Fuad A Kiram, Sultan of Sulu & Sabah.
This group converged upon the house belonging to a Ahmad Malandi, a.k.a Mat Bom, who earned the nickname for attacking a FELDA office using fish bomb. The initial group consisted of around five men wearing robes while 27 others wearing incomplete camouflage uniforms. All are armed with M-14 and M-15. Some 70 others joined later. Our security forces, acting on intelligence report, swiftly reacted by sending two companies of men from the General Operations Force and Malaysian Army’s 5th Brigade, while naval units supported by the marine police and the maritime agency gave offshore support.
To date, there is not a single hostage taken but this group of militants have spread themselves all over the island. Government negotiators, backed by officials from the Government of the Philippines are now continuously engaging the infiltrators. The demands include recognition of the group as the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu, and for Sulu immigrants not to be deported back to the Philippines.
That is the gist of the events. However, I don’t believe those are, or would be the only demands. In 2008, Nur Misuari had pledged loyalty and support for the Sultan’s claim on Sabah. The funny thing is, in 1962, the Sultan’s father, Sultan Esmail E Kiram, ceded his rights to claim Sabah (North Borneo then) to President Diodado Macapagal. Manila is no longer interested in claiming Sabah although it has never dropped its claim for political reasons. And Malaysia’s victory at The Hague in the Sipadan and Ligitan claims weakens further Manila’s position re Sabah.
Ahmad Malandi, or Mat Bom, once attacked the FELDA office in Lahad Datu in the 1990s after failing to settle a dispute with FELDA over an ancestral land that became part of FELDA Sahabat 20 scheme where some 1,000 immigrants of Sulu descent have settled. He was never charged. Mat Bom is now reported to be in an ICU ward at a local hospital. His son was reported to have travelled to Bongoa in Tawi-Tawi province in Mindanao to seek help from the armed men.
Blogger Outsyed The Box wrote in The Mole that the incursion by MNLF could have been prompted by the Opposition. This is NOT far-fetched. In fact, when the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement was signed at Malacanang Palace on the 15th October 2012, it did not go down well with Nur Misuari. And guess who tried to play Big Brother to Nur Misuari and broker a different peace deal?
Having read both links and seeing the events that are unfolding in Lahad Datu, one cannot dismiss the unseen agenda in the appointment of a new Huguan Siou last week. It could be coincidental. It could be a dangerous conincidence. Being a Huguan Siou allows one to have the support of the masses in the implementation of one’s agenda. Furthermore, my source informed me that these armed men want Sabah to be an autonomous state under the influence of the Sultanate of Sulu before GE13. Which is why they have also demanded to be allowed to remain in Sabah. Maybe an agreement was made with Nur Misuari back in October.
Anyway, I will let you come to your own conclusion.