Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Malaysian Army Uses F-18 Jets against Filipino Rebels!

Malaysian Air Force's F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.
MANILA — Malaysia used airstrikes and mobilized thousands of troops on Tuesday to try to put an end to a monthlong quixotic incursion by a band of gunmen from the Philippines seeking to reclaim part of Borneo Island for a defunct sultanate.

Three F-18 fighter jets and five Hawk ground-attack aircraft bombed and strafed the estimated 200 Filipino gunmen holed up near the small northeastern Malaysian village of Kampung Taduo, Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid of Malaysia said on Tuesday.
The airstrikes were followed by a ground assault that killed an undetermined number of the Filipino gunmen but caused no Malaysian casualties, the defense minister said.
“The armed forces’ operation to defend the nation’s sovereignty has been fruitful,” he told reporters, without providing details on whether all of the gunmen had been captured or killed.
Malaysians protesting against Filipino incursion.
Reports on Malaysia’s state-run news agency, Bernama, showed armored personnel carriers moving through the streets of Sabah State while military helicopters flew overhead. Military roadblocks have been set up around the area to stop the spread of the fighting, and villagers reported that in at least one case they had to remove the corpses of Filipino fighters from the streets of their village.
The assault came after weeks of pleas by the Philippine and Malaysian governments for the gunmen to return to the southern Philippines. Malaysian forces tried repeatedly to dislodge the gunmen by force with at least 27 killed in fighting before Tuesday’s major offensive. The current death toll is unclear.
The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, has said repeatedly in recent days that his government’s patience was wearing thin.
“We will not allow an inch of our land to be threatened by anyone,” the prime minister said in a statement shortly after the attack on Tuesday.
Malaysian army shelling rebels with heavy mortars.
Malaysian military officials said the gunmen arrived in the remote village of Lahad Datu in northeastern Malaysia on Feb. 9 by boat from the southern Philippines. The group represented itself as a royal militia in service of the Sultanate of Sulu, an Islamic kingdom that for centuries ruled the southern Philippines and parts of what is now Sabah State in Malaysia.
Under orders from a self-proclaimed sultan based in Manila, the armed group tried to resurrect the sultanate’s claim to the area despite appeals from both the Philippine and Malaysian governments to return to the Philippines.
In Manila, a spokesman for the group, Abraham Idjirani, told reporters that the Malaysian military assault had missed the organization’s leader on the ground. He said Filipino fighters were still operating in the area.
The group’s leader in Manila, Jamalul Kiram III, one of several claimants to the title of sultan of Sulu, remained defiant. He said at a news conference on Tuesday that the Filipino fighters in Borneo, including his son, whom he identified as the prince of Sulu, would continue the fight.
Malaysian army's 50 cal team firing at rebels.
“The crown prince, the royal security forces and the many patriots who landed voluntarily will fight to the last man protecting their ideals and aspirations,” he said.
In the last few days, Philippine officials have frantically shuttled between Kuala Lumpur and Manila seeking to smooth relations with their Southeast Asian neighbor and protect the more than 800,000 Filipinos living and working in Sabah State. Early Tuesday morning, the Philippine secretary of foreign affairs, Albert F. del Rosario, met with officials in Kuala Lumpur in an effort to reduce tensions.
Philippine officials have asked the Malaysian government to show restraint in dealing with the Filipinos involved in the incursion, but a presidential spokesman in Manila said on Tuesday that the military operation was beyond the control of the Philippine government.
“We are in no position to speculate on the actions of the Malaysian government,” said the spokesman, Edwin Lacierda. “What is clear, however, is that Malaysian blood has been spilled. If this happened to us, we would also have taken some action.”
The violence in Sabah, which has escalated into one of the most serious security emergencies in recent Malaysia history, has strained relations between the two Southeast Asian allies.
Surrendered Filipino-Muslim rebels.
Both countries have tried to stop the violence from spreading. Malaysian and Philippine navy ships are patrolling the countries’ narrow sea border to try to stop Filipino fighters sympathetic to the group in Borneo from coming over as reinforcements.
Nur Misuari, the leader of the Moro National Liberation Front, an Islamic militant group in the southern Philippines, said at a news conference on Tuesday that his group has not supported the incursion but he warned the Malaysian authorities not to harm Filipino civilians in Sabah.
“Do not touch our civilians,” he said. “Once you do that, that will be tantamount to declaration of war against our people and the Moro National Liberation Front.”

(When our Burma Army used one old MI-35 Soviet-Era helicopter gunship against tens of thousands of heavily-armed KIA Kachin rebels the whole world including Ban Ki-Moon's United Nations protested like their lives depended on the survival of their beloved terrorist, KIA. Now Malaysian military is using three latest US-supplied F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets against mere 200 lightly-armed Filipino rebels rightfully re-claiming their hereditary-land, and what are those western democracies and the UN doing? Nothing. Complete utter silence!)