The Filipino group holed-up in Lahad Datu confirmed reports of gunfire about 24 hours ago, but claimed that they were merely shots to warn off the Malaysian security forces.

Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of self-proclaimed Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram III, told Malaysiakini that a sentry spied six Malaysian soldiers approaching Kampung Tanduo at around 5pm yesterday and fired into the air.

"Everybody jumped and went there, so I followed. When I arrived, I asked him (the sentry) what had happened.

"They told me that the shots were aimed at the sky to warn them that they have been spotted. According to them there were six Malaysian soldiers in three groups and they ran away," he said over the phone.

However, he said his group of about 130 remain calm with no intention of surrendering.
This was despite confirming that his group receiving anonymous leaflets giving a final warning, urging the group to surrender, but he vowed that theywould "stay put until the situation is resolved."

However, he insisted that his armed group, seeking to claim Eastern Sabah as part of the now-defunct Sulu Sultanate for historic reasons, is peaceful with no intention to provoke a conflict.

On the group's food supplies, Azzimudie said the tight military cordon around Kampung Tanduo has prevented food deliver , adding, "We, the Suluk people, are used to surviving in the forest".

~ Malaysiakini