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Malaysian cops: Sultan Kiram's kin among detainees in Sabah

Relatives of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III are among some 104 people being detained for alleged links to Kiram's armed followers who have engaged Malaysian forces in a standoff and in armed clashes in Sabah since February, Malaysian police said Sunday. Malaysia's state-run Bernama news agency quoted Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib as saying Kiram's kin are detained under Malaysia's Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. "We are also investigating others who have links with the terrorists," he added. Bernama quoted Hamza as saying the Kiram family members were in Sabah "under assumed names" and used "different identities in the Philippines." The report, however, did not say how many relatives of the sultan were detained. Hamza said 232 others have also been detained for various offenses but maintained the situation in Sabah, including Semporna and Lahad Datu, was under control. Security forces are still flushing out Kiram's followers in the Tanjung Labian area. PNP working to verify return of Kiram brother Earlier Sunday, Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima said the PNP is working with the intelligence community to verify claims by Malaysian authorities that the brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III has returned to the Philippines from Sabah. "Yan hinahanap natin sa intelligence community kung may balita saan [siya] nag-landing ... tingnan natin kung nakarating sa Pilipinas," Purisima said in an interview on dzBB radio. He added that it is also likely Raja Muda Azzimudie (Agbimuddin) Kiram is still in Sabah, which he said has forested areas where he and his men can survive for days. "Madaling mag-survive sa lugar na yan dahil may tubig at pagkain na makukuha sa gubat," Purisima said. Malaysian police on Saturday claimed Azzimudie had fled Sabah and abandoned his followers following offensives by Malaysian security forces on Lahad Datu since March 5. The offensive operations stemmed from deadly clashes between armed followers of the sultanate led by Azzimudie and Malaysian security forces since March 1. But Malaysian police said later in the day they are not discounting the possibility Azzimudie is still in Sabah.— BM, GMA News