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World | National

Malaysia rounds up 'dozens' of sultanate 'sympathizers' - report
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Malaysian security forces have rounded up for questioning over the past two weeks “dozens” of suspected sympathizers of the Sulu sultanate in Sabah, the Malaysian news outfit The Star reported on Thursday.

The report said among those taken in were alleged relatives of Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the Sulu crown prince who led more than 200 followers to Sabah early last month to press the sultanate’s claim to the territory, “a few uniformed personnel and a local politician.”

It added that Malaysian police are “particularly interested in questioning a very close relative” of Kiram who had allegedly “played an advisory role to the Sulu group, and has gone into hiding either here or in Semporna.”

But The Star admitted that it had no official confirmation on the number and identities of those arrested.

It added that villagers said police had detained eight people “driving out of the Tanjung Labian area” near Tanduo, the village Kiram’s group had occupied since early last month and which was the target of a massive assault by Malaysian forces on Tuesday.

The group could include a son of Kiram and a woman relative, The Star quoted the villagers as saying.

The Star reported that residents of Tanduo who fled the village when Kiram and his followers landed on February 9, had said the crown prince “and his top army man known as Musa, a former Moro National Liberation Front member, were related to local village leaders through marriage.”

Kiram was once “an assistant district officer of Kudat in the early 1970s and his family had many relatives living in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Sandakan,” said the newspaper.