Published on: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Lahad Datu: The leader of the intruders in Kg Tanduo said by phone, when contacted, that they will refuse to leave because "there is no reason for them to leave their own land."
Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram said they only wanted to stake their claim that Sabah belongs to them and only retreat if everything had been settled.
"We have come in peace to claim what belongs to us, we don't want to cause bloodshed but if they (security forces) attack us, we will not just stand and die," he said in Suluk through a translator.
He added that they were now facing food shortage but would not take from the villagers their supply.
Azzimudie claimed his group consisted of more than 200 members who are sufficiently armed.
However, he denied that his group had fired shots that were reportedly heard on Sunday to prevent a revolt within his ranks.
Azzimudie is the brother of Jamallul Kiram III, the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, who has already told his "royal army" of nearly 200 to hold their ground, despite instructions from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to leave the village.
"Yes. Talagang peaceful negotiation ang kailangan (a peaceful solution is needed)... so long as our rights will not be taken away fom us.
Negotiation talaga ng gusto namin (is what we really want)," he reportedly also told a Philippine radio station, Inquirer 990AM, earlier when asked if the group was open to negotiation.
But Agbimuddin stressed that there must not be betrayal, insisting that the Malaysian government must be sincere in the negotiation.
Jamallul's brother disagreed that the rebel group had violated any of Philippine's laws in refusing to leave Sabah, insisting that they have not committed any crime.
"E papaano papa-arrest? Ano ang crime na na-commit namin?
Sa aming paniwala, wala kaminng crime (how to arrest?
What crime did we commit? We believe, we have no crime) committed against the Philippine government. We are just doing what we believe is right..." Agbimuddin was quoted as saying.
Malaysia pays a token sum to the Sultanate of Sulu each year for the "rental" of Sabah - an arrangement that stretches back to British colonial times.
In 2000, a group of militants from the southern Philippines kidnapped 21 tourists from the Sabah diving resort of Sipadan.
In 1985, 11 people were killed when gunmen, believed to be from the southern Philippines, entered Lahad Datu in Sabah, shooting at random before robbing the local branch of Standard Chartered Bank.