Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Kiram III Is Dead, Claim On Sabah “Still Alive”?

By DSGC Staff

“Sultan” Jamalul Kiram III, whose bid to restore Sulu sovereignty over Malaysia’s Sabah state in February led to clashes that killed at least 62 people, has died. He was 75.

Kiram, who suffered from kidney disease that required regular dialysis, died about 4 a.m. on Oct 20 at the Philippine Heart Center where he’d been confined since Oct. 18, Abraham Idjirani, a clan spokesman said. He will be succeeded by brother, Bantilan Esmail Kiram.

Kiram clashed with Malaysian authorities when he sent another brother, Agbimuddin, and 200 armed followers to Sabah in February to occupy land and pursue the clan’s claim.


While his death will open an opportunity for positive turn in the Manila-MILF peace process as well as in the Sabah issue between Manila-Kuala Lumpur, it could also led to a hardening of the resolve to continue the claim on Sabah.  Among the possible key players in continuing the claim on Sabah post-Kiram III include:

Bantilan Esmail Kiram II – brother of Kiram III (one of six). Father of Datu Amirbaham Kiram (Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram) who was arrested by Malaysian Special Branch at Semporna, Sabah in March. He was possibly the one who pushed for the February incursion into Sabah. Four of the brothers, Jamalul, Esmail, Alianapiah (Datu Piah), Agbimuddin pursued the claim to Sabah while two more, Datu Phugdal Kiram and Datu Baduruddin Kiram were reported to have distanced themselves from the cause.

Agbimuddin Kiram – “Rajah Muda”, brother to Kiram III. Led the armed group to “reclaim Sabah” in February.

Jacel H Kiram – “Princess”, daughter of Kiram III. Married Major Mohammad Yusoph Hassan, an officer of the Philippines Army in April

Pastor “Boy” Saycon – political strategist, advisor to Kiram III. Possibly linked to President Aquino III through former Congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco and his wife Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, as they all served in Council of Philippine Affairs (COPA). The mission of the COPA was to "keep the citizenry informed, concerned and involved in the various problems affecting Philippine society - be it political, economic or social." Was awarded the title Datu Mutahmeen by Kiram III

Abraham Idjirani – secretary general and spokesperson for the “Sultanate” of Sulu

Nur Misuari – founder of MNLF, now on the run, possibly to Indonesia or the Middle East. He is facing arrest together with his three top commanders, Habier Malik, Bas Arki and Assamin Hussin in connection with the 21-day Zamboanga City crisis in September.  He supported Kiram III with soldiers during the February incursion into Sabah.

Habier Malik – a commander of MNLF, top lieutenant of Misuari, reportedly led the attempt to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik at Zamboanga City Hall, which had earlier declared its independence on Aug 12, 2013 in Talipao, Sulu. He is possibly killed in the ensuing three weeks of fighting. Reportedly was with Agbimuddin when he entered Sabah in February.

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