After the death of 10 Sulu gunmen plus the capture of another 10, and the ongoing firefight that left four wounded, the United Nations (UN) are stepping in to take over control. Just today, the self-proclaimed Sulu sultan has called for an immediate ceasefire to the standoff in Sabah following calls by the UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to end violence in Sabah.
Ban Ki-moon, who has been closely monitoring the situation in Sabah, also said that he would like to see all parties engaged in dialogue (aka talks) for the peaceful resolution of the issue. All parties have been urged to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards.
The attack by intruders in Lahad Datu and Semporna has also left eight Malaysian policemen dead and several others injured.
Meanwhile, a national heroes fund has been set up to assist families whose loved ones have either died or have been injured as they battled against enemies in Sabah. The initiative was started by the Kuala Lumpur Hawkers and Petty Traders Association and it has the backing of 474 Chinese organizations as well as individuals in the community.
Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has since rejected the ceasefire offer by the self-styled sultan unless his fighters who launched a deadly incursion “surrender unconditionally”. The minister took to Twitter to say:
Which basically means, “A unilateral ceasefire is not accepted by Malaysia unless the militants surrender unconditionally. Don’t believe the ceasefire offer by Jamalul Kiram. In the interest of Sabahans and all Malaysians, wipe out all the militants first”.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has gotten a closer look at the offensive against the Sulu gunmen and has confirmed that the operations will continue for as long as it takes. He has also rejected the offer from the self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of a unilateral ceasefire, adding that Malaysia has given an ultimatum to the remnants of the Sulu armed group:
Lay down your arms or be eliminated.
The PM then declared that the military and police would hunt the remaining Sulu gunmen down if they refused to give up. Uh oh. More trouble ahead?
More to come as the story unfolds.