Claims innocent villagers had been massacred by security;
PM Najib in Sabah to visit Tanduo to see for himself;
UN sec-gen urges peaceful end to Sabah situation;
Malaysian soldiers join an assault near the area where a stand-off with Filipino gunmen took place, at Tanduo village, in this Tuesday, March 5, 2013 photo released by Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense, in Lahad Datu.
FELDA SAHABAT, LAHAD DATU: The Sultanate of Sulu on Thursday declared a unilateral ceasefire on the hostilities in Sabah where its followers are engaged in a standoff with the Malaysian security forces.
In a statement read by the Sultan spokesman Abraham Idjirani, Jamalul Kiram III (picture) said his decision was made after the statement of United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon, urging an end to the violence in Sabah.
“The Sultan is calling for a unilateral ceasefire of the Sultanate of Sulu effective this hour, 12: 30, in order to reciprocate the call of the United Nations to preserve lives.
“His Royal Highness, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III called his brother to initiate evasive and defensive posture.
This is not only to his brother but including to those who volunteered and sacrificed their lives for the cause of Sultanate of Sulu,” Idjirani quoted the Sultan’s statement.
“We hope Malaysia reciprocates the same call for a ceasefire,” he added, as reported in PhilStar online.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on arrival at Felda Sahabat Thursday afternoon to see for himself the situation at Tanduo and other affected villages nearby.
But the Philippine Daily Inquirer suggested that the call for the unilateral ceasefire was in view of the reported massacre committed by the Malaysian authorit[ies] against 40 innocent civilians in Lahad Datu yesterday (Wednesday), according to Idjirani.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has arrived in Sabah to see the situation at ground zero for himself, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Thursday.
At a joint conference with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, he said that Najib had been in close and constant contact, so far.
Najib is expected to hold a press conference at Felda Sahabat once he arrives, according to an update in The Star.
Najib Tun Razak will be getting an up close look at the ongoing operations against a group of Sulu gunmen at Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu.
The Prime Minister will be visiting the Felda Sahabat area in the two remote coastal seaside villages where the offensive against about 150 Sulu gunmen has entered its third day.
Zahid Hamidi said Najib’s visit was bound to boost the morale of police and military personnel involved in the offensive dubbed Ops Daulat.
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”The Prime Minister wants to see the progress of our operations and the logistics and support for the troops,” he said.
He noted that Najib had served as Defence Minister for 14 years and during that time had visited Malaysian peacekeeping missions in the frontlines at Bosnia, Timor Leste and Southern Lebanon.
Meanwhile United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging an end to the violence in Sabah and encouraging dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation.
”The Secretary-General expresses concern about the impact this situation may have on the civilian population, including migrants in the region.
“He urges all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards,” his spokesman said in a statement on the UN website.
Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Sabah, Malaysia
“The Secretary-General is closely following the situation in Sabah, Malaysia. He urges an end to the violence and encourages dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation.
“The Secretary-General expresses concern about the impact this situation may have on the civilian population, including migrants in the region. He urges all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards.”
The Borneo Insider can also report that early this morning, there was renewed shooting between Malaysian security forces and the Sulu raiders Thursday morning. Several fighter jets were seen flying over Felda Sahabat at about 8:35am.
The aircraft were believed to have been heading toward the direction of Kampung Tanduo and Kampung Tanjung Batu where Sulu gunmen have been involved in firefights with Malaysian security forces.
Borneo Insider has been told that at least two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) have moved in at Tanjung Batu and has been firing heavily at selected targets.
At 9:32AM, two fighter jets screamed overhead Lahad Datu and was seen heading in the direction of Tawau.
There has been a flurry of activity with Nuri choppers taking off from Lahad Datu and headed for Felda Sahabat, most likely ferrying fresh troops.
The situation in Lahad Datu remains calm with almost all the shops open and people going about their daily routine.
Schools however, remained closed. In Semporna a source claimed hearing gunshots at about 11pm Wednesday, but this was not confirmed by the police.
More to come: -