Friday, March 15, 2013

Malaysia on guard against retaliatory attacks from Kiram forces

Malaysian security forces are on guard against what Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described as possible retaliatory attacks by followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

According to a report by Malaysia's state-run Bernama news agency, Zahid said a "culture of seeking revenge" in parts of the southern Philippines may spark a repeat of the bloody clashes in Lahad Datu.

“I am putting my full confidence on our armed forces and police in ensuring the tragedy is not repeated despite fear that it may take place again,” he added.

For now, Zahid said, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), which secures the 1,400-km coastline of East Sabah, is on guard to agaisnt the feared repeat attacks.

Meanwhile, Zahid was appreciative of Philippine efforts to work closely with Malaysia to resolve the issue, and prevent a repeat of the incident by blocking Kiram's followers from entering Malaysia.

However, he said that a joint Malaysia-Philippine operation in the southern Philippines to address the threat at its source was an impossibility.

“Firstly, if we were to enter the Philippines, we would not be respecting the sovereignty of the Philippines and vice versa in Malaysia. The sovereignty of both countries must be respected,” he said.

Furthermore, the Defense Minister does not see military action as a solution to the issue.

Malaysian security forces have so far killed 56 suspected Kiram followers. The clashes also killed ten Malaysia security members.

Also, 156 people have been detained for being in the red zone of offensive operations.

Also, some 97 were held for suspected links to Kiram's followers.-GMA News (March 14, 2013 11:51PM)

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