Nightmarish waters ripe for robust solutions

For at least half a century, these piratic groups have been roaming the Sulu Sea and beyond.


It is no secret that the eastern coasts of my home state of Sabah neighboring the Philippines are frequently harassed by self-styled “freedom fighters.” Their avowed goals range from creating a self-governing homeland for the Muslims in the southern Philippines, to declaring outright independence for the same, and even to reviving the now defunct Sulu Sultanate encompassing the southern Philippine islands, as well as Sabah.

The so-called “Sulu Invasion of Sabah” was perhaps the culmination of that last, outlandish goal of past imperial “glories.” (The incident took place three years ago, whereby heavily armed groups allegedly affiliated to some self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu landed on Sabah shores and, after negotiations failed, engaged in sporadic exchanges of fire with Malaysian security forces and subsequently vanished, seemingly without a trace.)

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