MANILA, Philippines – An imam (Islamic religious leader) and his four children were killed when Malaysian forces attacked a village in Semporna, Sabah, the Kiram family said in a press conference Sunday in their home in Taguig City.
According to a report received by Princess Jaycel Kiram, daughter of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, and spokesperson Abraham Idjirani, Malaysian police forcibly entered a civilian’s house in Semporna, leading to the death of an imam and his four children.
Another imam was reportedly wounded in the attack.
“The perpetrator of the conflict is the Malaysian authority,” Idjirani said. “It is not the sultanate of Sulu that’s leveling up the conflict, it is the Malaysian government.”
“Had the Malaysian police applied tolerance, sobriety... They should not have resorted to that kind of action,” he added.
Reports from Malaysian news websites made no mention of the deaths of the imam and his children, however.
According to reports from The Star Online and New Straits Times, five Malaysian policemen were killed when they were ambushed during a police raid on a village on stilts in Semporna.
Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Inspector-General of Police, said the five Malaysian policemen were conducting a “ground assessment” when they were ambushed.
Ismail said two Sulu armed men were killed in the exchange, but the report did not identify them.
Ismail added that Malaysian police have encircled the village, where they are hunting for 10 men, three of which were armed and seen wearing camouflage.
Princess Jaycel, meanwhile, said she had “no words” to describe the latest development in Sabah.
“I cannot find the right term to express what I feel now. For the Malaysian police to do this to a Muslim priest, dinamay pa ang mga anak... I have no words to express what I feel,” she said.
Princess Jaycel also revealed that Malaysian forces have been arresting Filipinos indiscriminately, even those who were not linked to the Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate. – with a report from DZMM