‘Royal army’ learned combat by watching movies

Jerald Uy

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The sultan's brother Raja Muda, who led a few dozen 'royal army' to Sabah, is a teacher by profession without any experience in leading a war

COMBAT MOVIES. Abraham Idjirani and Jacel Kiram say the Kirams want a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sabah. Photo by Jerald Uy

MANILA, Philippines – Admitting that the 215 surviving followers of the Sulu Sultanate only learned combat by watching movies, the camp of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is now the one pressing for a peaceful resolution of the row they started in Sabah.

‘Yung mga napapanood sa sine (What we see in the movies) is another training, visual training kung papaano aalis sa danger zone (how to leave a danger zone),” said Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.

“How much more for the Sulu people kasi how many decades na-experience nila kung papaano iiwas sa danger. (The Sulu people have decades of experience on how to avoid danger) No, walang training sila (they had no training),” he said.

The Sultanate is relieved that the United Nations is exerting effort to enter the picture. According to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Hussein Haniff, permanent representative of Malaysia, on March 8 to discuss recent developments in Sabah.

“The Secretary-General noted the efforts that were made by the Governments of Malaysia and Philippines to find a peaceful resolution to the situation. He reiterated his hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible, and that efforts will continue to be made to ensure respect for human rights and to avoid further loss of life.”

The sultan’s brother, Raja Muda, and a few dozen followers sailed to Sabah on February 9 to stake their claim on the disputed territory.

“If they have to die, then they will die. They are sacrificing (themselves) for whatever may happen,” the sultan was quoted saying. (READ: Sultan infuriates PH, Malaysia

Royal Forces led by a teacher, not a fighter

Disputing claims by Malacañang that the Sabah situation is the result of a conspiracy and that the Kirams deceived people to go to Sabah, the sultan’s daughter Jacel said the members of the Sultanate’s Royal Forces voluntarily joined Raja Muda without any compensation.

“In olden times, may Sultanate of Sulu, may Royal Forces na, hanggang maghirap ang sultanate, these people remained,” she added. (In the olden times, when there were already royal forces under the Sultanate of Sulu, up to the time that the sultanate became poor, these people remained.)

Jacel said her uncle Raja Muda is a teacher by profession without any experience in leading a war.

Idjirani denied reports that Raja Muda has been killed in the conflict. “That statements from the Malaysian Government are lies and black propaganda,” he said.

He then quoted Raja Muda as saying that their forces are “still intact” and “the magnitude of the bombardment has decreased.”

“’Yung mga naaresto malamang (Those arrested are most likely) undocumented Filipinos,” Idjirani said, referring to reports that 79 Filipinos were arrested in Sabah.

Caught between conspiracies

Kiram turned the tables on the governments of the Philippines and Malaysia, which have their own conspiracy theories about the Sabah claim.

“Purely for political exigency and popularity. This issue to them is not important especially on election time in Malaysia. To gain points, instead of adhering to the call of the United Nations for a peaceful resolution, Razak did the opposite. He ordered a more ferocious offensive bombardment, ordering 7 battalions, supported by the naval and air force, to pulverize the Sultanate’s Royal Army, disregarding the preservation of life.”

She added that “Malacañang acted as spokesperson for Malaysia against the interests of our own people in order to pacify the role of Malaysia in facilitating the peace process.”

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda earlier criticized Jacel for making supposedly “inconsistent” statements against Malacañang. Lacierda talked about at least 3 meetings between Malacañang emissaries and the Kirams to help the family arrange a meeting with Malaysian officials so they can discuss their concerns about Sabah. 

Lacierda said the sultan’s other brother Ismael Kiram was ready to go to Malaysia but the sultan stopped him. 

(READ: Kiram v Kiram: Aquino’s botched move)

Malacañang propaganda?

Jacel was also offended by reports she received that a Cabinet official called 3 representatives of international wire agencies to sell the idea of a conspiracy.

Puro sila alegasyon. (They’re full of allegations.) That’s an imaginary conspiracy. Ang totoong conspiracy dito ay ang sabwatan ng (The real conspiracy is between the) PNoy government and the government of Razak for the political interests of Razak, kahit masakripisyo na ang mga Pilipino,” Kiram told Rappler.

The sultanate also lamented that 3 representatives of the International Court of Justice and an advanced team of a UN Peacekeeping Force were allegedly denied entry to Sabah.

Gusto nilang takpan ang katotohanan. ‘Pag binigay nila ang pahintulot sa ICJ, malalaman at malalaman ang katotohanan (They want to hide the truth. If they allow ICJ to enter Sabah, the international community will know the truth),” she said.

Idjirani also said the emergence of another claimant as the sultan of Sulu is a “diversionary tactic.” – Rappler.com

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