The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - The next Arab Spring. This was how the camp of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III described the series of uprisings in Sabah stressing this was being done "in the name of the Filipino people."
Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said that after violence erupted in the town of Semporna that left 12 killed, including six Malaysians, unrest also reportedly spread in Kunak, Sandakan, and Tuwau.
"Last night at 11, Sandakan is already a battlezone. We are not yet sure, this is but a sketchy report, Tuwau is already experiencing conflict," Idjirani told a news conference in Taguig on Monday.
"This is the fifth spring, starting from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria...now this is the Sultan Jamalul Kiram III spring," he said.
He said supporters from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Zamboanga managed to slip past the naval blockade set up by both Malaysian and Philippine navies and reached Sabah to lend their support to the Royal Sulu Army.
Malaysia's The Star newspaper said the Malaysian Army is rushing reinforcements after the presence of "armed intruders" was reported in Kunak. About 10 men in military gear were sighted in the area, the newspaper reported.
Sightings of armed men were also reported in Kinabatangan but local police denied the report, The Star said.
The camp of the Sulu sultan also maintained that it was holding four Malaysian hostages in Semporna, despite the denial of Malaysian authorities. Idjirani said the four will be released only if there is an intervention of an international humanitarian agency and in the presence of local and international media.
Idjirani scored Malacanang's continued refusal to hold talks with Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
"Sa halip na pag-usapan (Instead of talking with us), Malacanang is now holding a press conference kung saan ang tinatalakay (where what is discussed) is not the standoff but the legitimacy of the sultan of Sulu. Kung gusto nila di pumunta sila sa Sabah kausapin nila ang (If they want, they can go to Sabah and talk to the) Raja Muda," he said.
Idjirani reiterated that Sabah is the Philippines’.â¨â¨He said that before the sultan's father died, he reportedly told his sons, including the sultan, that "Sabah is the patrimony of the Filipino people."
"The Sultan Jamalul Kiram III spring is in the name of the Filipino people," he said.