Rebellion in Brunei
Published on: Monday, December 10, 1962
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NORTH BORNEO NEWS & SABAH TIMES - (Monday, December 10, 1962) - BRUNEI TOWN, Sunday. - Government forces have recaptured the police station at Seria, a vast oil installation about 65 miles south-east of here, it was officially announced today.

A statement issued by the Department of Information said the situation in Brunei was improving. 

On their way to Seria, government forces also recaptured the police station at Tutong, an important town-ship of about 30 miles south Brunei Town. 

The department gave no further details. 

In an armed uprising yesterday, an insurgent secret military organisation called the “North Borneo National Army” seized Seria and several townships in Brunei. 

The insurgents also attacked the Sultan of Brunei’s palace in Brunei Town but they were beaten off by loyal forces. 

Meanwhile, the airlift of British troops from Singapore to reinforce Gurkha units already in Brunei continued in full swing today. 

An official British army spokesman said that five British Royal Air Force transports with troops and military equipment left Singapore early this morning for Brunei. 

“Our flights will continue throughout the day,” he added. 

So far the Royal Air Force has transported 500 troops and equipment to the oil-rich state. The spokesman declined to give further details. 

Some of the troops fly direct to Brunei Town while others would be off-loaded at the British Army Base at Labuan in North Borneo where they will be transported by ferries to Brunei State, the spokesman said. 

Informed British sources said some rebels from Seria were moving towards the oil town of Miri, in neighbouring Sarawak about 12 miles from Seria. 

British Navy units were today moving to Brunei, according to an official spokesman of Britain’s Unified Far East Command in Singapore. 

He would not say how many warships were involved or give any other details. 

The spokesman said that by tonight it was hoped to have two battalions of British troops in Brunei. 

Units of the first battalion Queen’s Own Highlanders station A in Singapore were being airlifted today to Brunei. 

Elements of the Royal Air Force regiment have been flown from Singapore to Brunei to guard airfields and installations, the spokesman said. 

Later, stores and vehicles for the British forces would be sent to Brunei by sea. 

In Kuala Lumpur, the Malayan capital, an official source said the Malayan Government was recalling its Ambassador to the Philippines, Inche Zaiton bin Ibrahim from Manila for “consultations” in view of the Brunei situation. 

Inche Zaiton is expected to leave Manila for Kuala Lumpur within “24 hours”, the source added. 

Inche Zaiton is likely to brief the Malayan Government on the role played by Inche Azahari, the Brunei Party Rakyat leader, who is now in the Philippines, according to the source. Inche Azahari has declared himself as one of the leaders of the Brunei uprising. 

The Malayan Government, he added, was concerned with developments in the Seria oilfields where there were about 200 Malayan policemen guarding the oil installations. 

The Philippines Ambassador to Malaya, Mr Yusup Abu Bakar, said today that he could fly to Manila on Tuesday but added that his trip had no connection with the Brunei development. 

Mr Abu Bakar said the uprising was a “complete surprise” to him. 

He was returning to Manila to brief his government on the forthcoming Association of South-east Asia (ASA) Foreign Ministers Conference next month. 

The Brunei Government today declared emergency throughout the British protectorate and a 24-hour curfew until further notice. The Government had initially imposed at 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew when rebellion broke out yesterday. 

The Brunei Radio, announcing the curfew, said that the people should remain indoors or they would be shot without warning. 

The Government has also closed all schools in the state during the emergency. 

Reports from Kuching, Sarawak said that the northern town of Limbang near the Brunei border was completely cutoff and was apparently still in rebels hands. 

In Lawas, another town in Northern Sarawak, where the insurgents struck yesterday, the situation was reported to be under control. 

Meanwhile, all Malayan civilians in Brunei were being evacuated and sent back to Malaya, according to reliable sources. 

Government forces have reoccupied the oil town of Seria and more than 500 rebels had surrendered, an official spokesman said in Brunei Town today. 

The spokesman said there were no casualities on the government side but many of the rebels had been killed when Government forces moved into Seria. 

Reliable sources said the rebels had about 10 Europeans as hostages to shield themselves and two of the hostages were killed an another seriously wounded. 

Although Seria itself has been recaptured, the rebels were still reported to be fighting around the area. 

A statement issued by the Government department said several leaders of the left-wing Party Rakyat, the most powerful political organisation, had surrendered to the government. They included the President of the Party, Awang Hafidz Laxsamana, and Pengiran Metussin. 

The department said the North Borneo National Army was sponsored by the Party Rakyat. 

This was the first official statement linking the Party and the rebels. The Paramount Ruler of Malaya today cabled to crush the rebellion in his state. 

The cable said: “To our brother Sultan Sir Omar Ali Saifuddin, Brunei. I am greatly shocked to hear of the act of treason which has been committed in our brother’s country by traitors. I am grateful to Allah the Most High who has given His protection to our brother and the Raja Isteri and who given safety to the Government of Brunei. 

“The Government and people of Malaya are very ready to support and assist the government and people of Brunei.” 


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