PETALING JAYA: The Sultanate of Sulu is seeking a ceasefire with Malaysian armed forces in Lahad Datu, saying that the group of gunmen need time to bury their dead.
“Malaysia is a Muslim nation so they should understand that we need to bury our dead,” said Abraham Idjirani, secretary-general of the purported sultanate and spokesman for self-proclaimed Sulu Ruler Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
“I hope Malaysia will reconsider its position,” he said in a telephone interview from Manila on Friday.
Idjirani claimed that numbers in the original group of 235 people had reduced after 10 were shot dead by armed forces.
The group, holed up in the seaside village of Tanduo, is led by Jamalul's brother, Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram.
Idjirani said Azzimudie intended to hold on to his position as their purpose for storming Tanduo - to live in peace and have the Malaysian government recognise their ownership of the state - remained the same.
He also claimed that the Malaysian forces had attempted to dig their way in to the area at around 6am Thursday but soon withdrew.
The shooting began at 10.30am.
It was reported in the Phillipines' media that 10 of the group, who dubbed themselves the Royal Army of Sulu, had been arrested.