MANILA – Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of self-styled sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, slipped past Malaysian security forces seeking his arrest in Lahad Datu, Sabah in Malaysia Sunday, a New Straits Times report said.
The report said Raja Muda was believed to be hiding in a settlement in Kampung Pinggir Bakau, which was raided by 100 Malaysian police officers including elements of the Special Action Force.
The police arrested 33 people during Sunday's raid including 4 suspected followers of Raja Muda.
Police said 4 women who were arrested served as the “eyes and ears” of Raja Muda’s group and had provided them food.
Police earlier said 2 officers were injured in shootouts with Filipino gunmen Saturday as they try to end a month-long incursion in remote Sabah state that has already left 61 people dead.
Fifty-three militants and eight police officers have been shot dead since a group of armed Filipino Islamists landed in the state on Borneo island last month to resurrect long-dormant land claims of a self-proclaimed Philippine sultan.
Malaysia, facing its worst security crisis in years, insists the gunmen must surrender unconditionally, but the men have refused to lay down arms, hiding within a security cordon around two villages, palm oil plantations and swamp.
Sabah police chief Hamza Taib said gunmen have traded fresh fire with security forces since late Saturday with shots hitting two officers who were sent to a hospital in Sandakan town for treatment. With Agence France-Presse