Third Malaysian policeman killed in Borneo: report
A Malaysian policeman was killed by "militants" in a region where Filipino followers of a self-claimed sultan are holed up in a deadly standoff with security forces, state media reported Sunday.
- Published: 3/03/2013 at 11:49 AM
- Newspaper section: news
Malaysian police (R) and an army truck are pictured on March 3, 2013 in Lahad Datu on Borneo island, near Tanduo village. A Malaysian policeman was killed by "militants" in a region where Filipino followers of a self-claimed sultan are holed up in a deadly standoff with security forces, state media reported Sunday.
The police officer was killed when he was fired upon Saturday in the Malaysian town of Semporna, 300 kilometres (190 miles) by road from the site of the standoff at Tanduo village on Borneo island where 12 Filipino intruders and two police died in a firefight the day before.
State news agency Bernama also said another officer suffered gunshot wounds.
It quoted police saying the killing was unrelated to the nearly three-week siege involving armed intruders who arrived from the Philippines by boat to press the "sultan's" historical claim to the area.
But the latest shooting raised fears on Malaysian social media sites of a possible spread of violence by suspected sympathisers of the group.
An estimated 100-300 Filipinos have been surrounded in a farming village by a Malaysian police and military cordon since landing by boat from the nearby Philippines to insist the area belongs to their Islamic leader Jamalul Kiram III's.
Kiram, 74, claims to be the heir to the Islamic sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of the southern Philippines and Borneo.
Following Friday's firefight, Malaysian police stepped up threats to clear them out unless they surrendered immediately.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who has sharply criticised the intruders, also urged them to surrender unconditionally, but a spokesman for Kiram has said his followers were prepared to die.
The Tanduo standoff has embarrassed the government of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak -- who must call elections by June -- exposing poor border security and adding to perceptions of lawlessness and illegal immigration in Sabah.
The Sulu sultanate's power faded about a century ago but it has continued to receive nominal payments from Malaysia for Sabah under a historical lease arrangement passed down from European colonial powers.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency