Malaysian cops to seek 'extradition' of Sulu Sultan's brother
(Updated 4:30 p.m.) Malaysian authorities on Saturday said they may seek the legal equivalent of an extradition for the brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who they believe has abandoned his followers in Sabah and fled to Mindanao.
Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said they are certain Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram fled to the Philippines despite the Sulu Sultan's camp in Manila insisting he is still in Sabah.
"We have begun investigations and will compile evidence to extradite him to mainland Malaysia to face charges," Hamza said at a press conference Saturday morning, according to a report on The Star Online.
The Philippines and Malaysia do not have an extradition treaty.
According to The Star Online's report, Malaysian authorities believe Agbimuddin "fled sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday and was laying low in one of islands off Tawi-Tawi, likely to be Simunul island" – less than 30 minutes by speedboat from the Tg Labian area.
"According to sources, he is believed to have fled with at least three others who have families in Simunul," the report added.
Building a case
Hamza said they have started building a case against Agbimuddin under Malaysia's Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act.
"And we will compile evidence to extradite him to Malaysia to face charges," he said.
"We will deal with him according to our laws. I have never trusted what Jamalul Kiram has said from day one," he added.
On the other hand, he said Malaysian authorities estimate less than 50 of Kiram's followers are still in the Lahad Datu area in Sabah.
Agbimuddin and around 200 Kiram's followers landed in Sabah in early February to assert the Sulu Sultante's territorial claim over north Borneo. On March 1, the group engaged Malaysian security forces in violent confrontations.
The March 1 skirmishes had led to more confrontations that left dozens dead, including less than 10 Malaysian cops. Kiram had made a unilateral ceasefire offer but Malyasia rejected it, and the hunt has continued.
For his part, Army Division 1 Commander Maj. Gen. Zaki Mokhtar said mopping-up efforts were now focused in the Tanjung Batu area.
Earlier, Malaysia's Bernama news agency said Agbimuddin may have fled to the Philippines but Kiram's camp insisted he is still in Sabah.
Bernama said a major offensive in Lahad Datu since March 5 supposedly "crippled" Agbimuddin's group "and forced its leader to abandon ship."
It added at least 10 people were detained, including eight caught entering Sungai Bilis in Lahad Datu from the Philippines, and two taken into custody for allegedly collaborating with Kiram's followers. — LBG, GMA News