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Guerrilla warfare: militants hitting back?

LAHAD DATU: As images of mutilated bodies flood the blogs and rumours of more attacks spew via SMSess and emails,  Lahad Datu is appearing more and more like a guerrilla front.Malaysia’s rejection yesterday of a unilateral ceasefire called by self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and its determination to wipe-out the ‘remnant’ militants of the week-long brutal armed attack simply means that Sabah is in trouble, says a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) source.

Said the source who declined to be named: “The Malaysians have opened an insurgency problem in Sabah by firing the first shot. Sabah is going to be a real headache for the Malaysians.”

The source was alluding to last Friday’s shoot-out at Kampung Tandauo in Lahad Datu where over 200 armed soldiers from the Royal Sulu Army were holed up since Feb 9.

What triggered the shoot-out is subjective. The Malaysian side claimed the militants broke the security cordon, the Sulu sultanate deny this saying they were attacked.

A news blackout on the goings-on in Lahad Datu and a lack of informed regular updates from the Malaysian authorities have given wind to widespread rumours, the latest being that a group of Moro militants bombed a bridge in Sandakan and a truck heading towards Lahad Datu being attacked.

FMT has been unable to confirm these information. Neither is there any form of comment from the Malaysian side.

Thus far the Malaysian security forces have declared 52 militants killed, including a general, and eight Malaysian officers have died.

Yesterday Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told reporters here that a security zone covering Kudat, Kunak, Sandakan and Lahad Datu has been implemented and that there was no scaling back unless the militants surrender unconditionally and handover their weapons.

Unconditional surrender is not a Tausug culture

The Philstar.com quoted official MNLF spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla as saying that the sultanate’s forces would fight till death.

“Surrender? It’s unacceptable. They will fight to the death. For the Tausug fighters it’s victory or graveyard,” he said.

He said the war would be ‘very costly’ to Malaysia army which had not fought a real battle like the sultanate’s forces.

He said many of them had fought the Philippine government as members of the MNLF.

“They’re used to dealing with jet fighters as well as ground and naval bombardments.

“They know the terrain in Sabah, having trained there for decades,” he said.

Militants refusing to surrender

Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar in a press conference here this morning said the Sulu militants were not showing signs of surrendering.

He also denied reports that 700 Sulu gunmen had entered Sabah.

“I received information that there are SMS and social media postings which falsely claim that these gunmen have entered Kota Kinabalu and Tawau to create chaos,” he said.

“It is not true. Do not believe in reports which are not confirmed by the police and military. Please inform the police if you see any information via social media or text messages,” he added.

-Free Malaysia Today