Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bodycount Increases But Where's the Fighting?

Reuters pic

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March 31 was my last entry on the Lahad Datu intrusion. That day itself, The Philippine Star cited Sulu sultanate spokesperson Abraham Idjirani as saying some 100 heavily armed men have joined the followers of Agbimuddin Kiram in Sabah to continue fighting Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu, successfully evading the sea blockade set up by both Malaysian and Philippine navies.

A source from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) claimed on April 07 that another 1,000 of its fighters had slipped into Sabah. This information was also carried by the same online website although Malaysian security forces had declared otherwise. Even so, local residents were said to be alarmed at the tighter surveillance in the area.

Both these reports came after the East Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) was established along a 500km stretch from Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan to Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

Still, there must be some truth in the matter as thirty-two men, armed with firearms and machetes were detained for trying to enter Sabah illegally from southern Philippines. Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib said the group was arrested about 12 nautical miles off Tambisan in the east coast Lahad Datu district at 2:00 AM on Monday (The Star, April 9, 2013, p 21).

But in an amazing turnaround, Sabah police now say they are recommending that the same 32 Filipinos not be charged, as the group, believed to be a politician and his supporters, had inadvertently drifted into the area (Webpage I am laughing loudly. Right or wrong, the police are looking like fools.

And there’s another funny story. According to a text message by Hamza and reported by Malaysiakini on April 08, the number of terrorists shot dead remained at 70. I am really puzzled as I cannot figure how the bodycount keeps steadily increasing despite there being no official reports of fighting. I hope we didn’t exaggerate the numbers just to look good.

Then today, The Sun mentioned on page 08 that nine people were detained yesterday by police in Beluran, Sandakan. This brings the total number of those nabbed under SOSMA to 186. Interestingly, the same paper also listed Sulu casualties as “about 80” (Lines 43, 44)Again, the numbers went up and I cannot explain this new total either! I am now laughing even more loudly.

Anyway, believe it or not, the mopping-up operations by our security forces are still continuing. Yup, strange but true!

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