The Malaysian authorities looked very kindly on the loyal followers of the Sultanate of Sulu who had set foot in what they claimed to be part of their domain. But why the sudden and unexpected migration? The question begs some answers and some of the explanations given are replete with speculations.
Among them is that the migration was triggered by the deliberate exclusion of the sultanate from the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). This of course is more of an intrigue because consultations were held in Sulu and these were open to the political and traditional leaders and to the inhabitants of the island. Meaning, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government in fact held town hall meetings on FAB in Sulu.
On the other hand, take note that this sudden migration to Sabah came on the heels of bloody conflicts between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Sulu, most particularly the bloodied sands of Patikul, has been an arena of so many bloody encounters. The recent events showed the atrocities and bestiality of the ASG. In the battle with the MNLF, which had more than enough of ASG’s kidnap-for-ransom and terrorist activities, the Muslim religious leaders and peace-loving islanders were shocked at how the Abus mercilessly decapitated and mutilated the bodies of MNLF fighters.
We still cannot fathom why the heirs and loyal followers of the Sultan of Sulu unexpectedly left for Sabah. Whether their exodus has anything to do with a historical bequest, or was just a knee-jerk reaction to what they perceived as the sultanate’s exclusion from the FAB or was prompted by the un-Islamic barbarism of the ASG is beyond us. But one thing is certain: The ASG bandits have turned rabid and viral and, in their insanity, have victimized Christians and now also Muslims who want nothing of their diabolism. Who knows, the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu might just be their next targets?
The MNLF forces for now are fighting the ASG terrorists right in their turf. Our take is that while the sands of Patikul are soaked red with the blood of the victims of the ASG bandits, the followers of the sultanate will opt to stay in the land of their dream. We just hope that our Malaysian neighbors will continue to be humane to the Sultan’s followers for they have suffered long enough in the hands of terrorists gone mad.
—RINA DE JESUS