MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos in Sabah have reportedly taken four Malaysians hostage in the town of Semporna in response to the killing of an imam and his four sons, a spokesman of the Kiram family said Sunday.
Kiram family spokesman Abraham Idjirani said in a press conference in Taguig City that Malaysian forces have been arresting Filipinos in Semporna, as they continue to search for Datu Alinapia Kiram, the brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
On Sunday morning, the Kiram family received reports that Malaysian forces killed an imam and four of his sons in Sampurna, and wounded another imam.
The bloodshed allegedly moved the Filipinos in Sempurna to fight back against the Malaysian forces, leading them to capture a Malaysian official, two Malaysian military officials and one Malaysian policeman.
Idjirani stressed that this move was not organized and not initiated by the Sultanate of Sulu.
The Kiram family said they advised Filipinos in Semporna to take care of the captives and feed them, but they are not sure if the hostages will be released any time soon.
The captives are to be used as hostages in "the brutality and atrocities" of the Malaysian police towards Filipinos living in Sabah, the family said.
Meanwhile, Princess Jaycel Kiram is calling on their supporters to calm down and refrain from taking drastic measures. She still hopes that a peaceful resolution can be achieved if only President Aquino will talk to their family directly.
Jaycel said they have also received reports that some of their supporters from Tawi Tawi, Sulu and Basilan arrived in Semporna last night, but they do not know how they were able to sail to Malaysia without being caught by the Philippine Navy and Malaysian border patrols.