MANILA, Philippines -- The chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces once again insisted Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram has fled Sabah and returned to the Philippines, a report from Malaysian state news agency Bernama said.
Malaysian military chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said security intelligence confirmed that Raja Muda has been hiding in the the Philippines since March 11.
He added that the leader of the Sulu royal security forces has been fleeing from one island to another for shelter to avoid being arrested by Philippine authorities.
"[Raja Muda] is believed to have done so to avoid his location from being detected by the Moro people and for fear that he will be arrested by the Philippine authorities," Zulkifeli said.
When asked if Malaysian security forces would track down Raja Muda in the Philippines, he said it was out of their jurisdiction.
He believes further action can be taken through bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, the camp of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III has repeatedly denied the report, calling it merely "propaganda" against the sultan's followers.
On Wednesday, the daughter of Kiram claimed that Raja Muna was almost killed after Malaysian forces attacked the royal army in Tanjung Batu the day before.
Princess Jacel Kiram said Raja Muda was saved by two royal army members who died after being shot by Malaysian forces.
More than 200 followers of the sultan, led by Raja Muda, entered Sabah last February to press their claim over the disputed territory.
Clashes between the Sulu gunmen and Malaysian forces have have led to at least 70 deaths, mostly of militants.