MANILA, Philippines – Relatives of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were among the 104 people arrested by Malaysia for being involved in the standoff in Sabah, state news agency Bernama said on Sunday, March 17.
Kiram’s relatives were detained under the new Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act, which in theory is only applicable for acts of terrorism, according to the report.
The law was passed in 2012 to replace the controversial 1960 Internal Security Act, which allowed detention without charges or trial if authorities deemed the suspect had put the security of the state at risk.
Malaysia called the gunmen involved in the standoff “terrorists,” but the Philippines so far was only willing to admit they may have committed “acts of terrorism.”
Bernama added that the so-called “mopping-up” operations against about 50 remaining Kiram followers in Sabah would continue and Sabah police commissioner Hamza Taib hopes to finish the sweep “as soon as possible.”
Authorities arrested more than 100 people in Sabah on suspicion of having links to the Filipino militants, and the Philippine Navy last week detained 35 suspected Filipino intruders as they tried to sail home.
Agbimuddin Kiram, the leader of the intruders and the younger brother of the sultan, was not among those detained. – with reports from Carlos Santamaria & Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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