Sultan of Sulu soldiers refuse to leave Lahad Datu
22 Feb 2013 11:40pm
MANILA, Philippines—The ‘royal soldiers’ of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III holed up in Kampung Tanduo, 130km from Lahad Datu town in Sabah, have refused to leave despite the Friday deadline set by Malaysia.
The Philippine Inquirer reported that Jamalul, his brother Ishmael and wife Princess Fatima Cecilia and some of their followers faced the media on Friday in a press conference at the Blue Mosque in Maharlika Village in Taguig City, saying they will consult their followers regarding their next move.
Jamalul has reiterated his order to his followers not to leave Sabah, news website www.abs-cbnnews.com reported.
Princess Fatima, who is the sultan’s spokesperson, said the family wants the Sabah issue to be resolved before the International Court of Justice and that they are open to negotiate with Malaysia, but said they will not resort to violence.
She also said that the family was hurt by President Benigno Aquino’s statement that the Sabah issue was “dormant” but she welcomed his directive for his top Cabinet officials to study the Sabah claim issue, the Philippine Inquirer reported.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he and Armed Forces Chief Emmanuel Bautista are coordinating with their Malaysian counterparts to resolve the issue peacefully.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also confirmed the Philippine government is trying to convince the Kiram family to pullout their followers from Sabah, www.abs-cbnnews.com reported.