MANILA, Philippines – Sabah standoff leader Agbimuddin Kiram escaped from Lahad Datu 10 days ago and has since been hiding in the Philippines, Malaysia insisted on Thursday, March 21.
“Azzimudie [how Malaysian authorities refer to Agbimuddin] is believed to have done so to avoid his location from being detected by the Moro people, and for fear that he will be arrested by the Philippine authorities,” Malaysian Armed Forces chief Gen Zulkifli Mohd Zin told reporters, according a report by state news agency Bernama.
The standoff leader and younger brother of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is no longer being pursued by security forces in Sabah as he is now “out of our jurisdiction,” Zulkifli added.
Malaysia last week claimed that Agbimuddin had crossed over to the Philippines, but this was denied by the sultan’s spokesman.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov Mujiv Hataman also insisted on Tuesday that there had been no sightings of the standoff leader in the country.
(Read: Standoff leader a Malaysian citizen?) – with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com
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