On March 1, 2013, Friday 2 pm, the Malaysian and Philippine governments announced that the Lahad Datu Standoff had ended with the surrender of 10 men of the ragtag “Royal Sulu Forces”. Two days later, the Rajah Muda (Crown Prince) and his 200 or so men are still in Lahad Datu while the Philippine President keeps on repeating that the Sulu people should surrender as the patience of the Malaysian Prime Minister is running thin.
The Philippine and Malaysian governments were obviously lying. I don’t know what excuses they said when up to now, the stand off is still, well, a stand off.
Below is an article I wrote in the late afternoon of March 1 when the Philippine media were all talking about the end of the standoff.
by Jamal Ashley
MARCH 1, 2013
While the Philippine government announced the end of the Lahad Datu standoff, reports from Sabah says heavy fightig between the Malaysian military and the forces of the Sultan of Sulu are on-going.
The Sultan of Sulu in Manila announced in late afternoon that some 68 Malaysian soldiers have been killed. This is confirmed by sources at the Sandakan Hospital in Sandakan, Sabah.
END OF STANDOFF?
Earlier, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez announced that Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Zamri Mohammad Kassim has delivered the news that ten of the people from Sulu have surrendered, thus ending the stand off. The end supposedly came about 2:00 in the afternoon.
The 200 or more men who came from Sulu apparently left by boat and left the 10 surrenderees. The Malaysian ambassador also informed the Philippines that two Malaysian commandos died while twelve of the Sulu Sultan’s men perished.
The Sulu Sultan has earlier announced that ten of his brother’s companions in Sabah has been killed, including a woman while four were wounded.
MARTIAL LAW IN LAHAD DATU
Sources in Sabah say that Martial Law has been declared in Lahad Datu with a 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM curfew.
The airport in Lahad Datu was closed and all flights were cancelled.
There are also various reports that ethnic Tausug Malaysians are being rounded up by the military for interrogation. The ethnic Taosugs, whose forefathers are from Sulu, are now in panic mode.
The Philippine government has asked Malaysia for permission to send a ship to Lahad Datu to pick up the ten surrenderees and to treat the wounded.
In a note verbale, the Philippine government also asked for an explanation of the military operation that resulted in a dozen deaths.
With the announcement of the Sultan of the deaths of 68 soldiers and the imposition of Martial Law, it is still unclear if the standoff in Lahad Datu has indeed ended.