DFA: No confirmed Filipino casualties in Sabah, no gunfight-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
MANILA (Updated 2:42 p.m.) --Gunshots were heard Friday morning in a village in Sabah, Malaysia where armed Filipinos have been holed up for more than two weeks now, but no confirmed gunfight or casualties were reported, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
DFA Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said in a television interview that the Philippines is still verifying information from the Malaysian Government on the incident.
He said they also have yet to verify earlier reports that there were casualties in the side of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, whose followers arrived in Lahad Datu in Sabah on February 9 to claim the territory as their own.
Reports said earlier that followers of Kiram suffered casualties after they engaged in a gun battle with Malaysian police forces, and that the Malaysian Government fired the first shot.
But Hernandez said the gunfire already ceased and it is not certain as to who fired their guns.
But Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang of Malacañang said they have been receiving conflicting reports on what’s happening in Sabah, adding they are still trying to get the most accurate information.
In a recent update, Carandang said that two of Sultan Kiram’s followers went out of the cordoned area, prompting the Malaysian police to fire a warning shot.
The two were arrested but were later released back to their camp in Lahad Datu, he said.
“There was no firefight. There was only warning shots when two of Kiram’s men tried to get out from the cordoned area. They took them in custody but later released,” said Carandang.
The Kiram clan of Sulu has been engaged in a standoff with Malaysian police since they landed in the coastal village of Lahad Datu in Sabah. They ignored appeals from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to leave and return to Sulu immediately. (Sunnex)