Sulu Sultan Esmail Kiram II dies
MANILA, Philippines – Sulu's sultan Esmail Kiram II died on Saturday, September 19, due to kidney failure.
Kiram's niece, Princess Jacel Kiram, told Rappler that the sultan passed away at 6:25 pm of Saturday at the Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital. She said her uncle was 77 years old.
Sultan Kiram's body was set to be brought to Jolo, Sulu on Sunday at 12:30 pm.
Princess Jacel Kiram said that the elder Kiram's brother, Datu Phugdal Kiram, will succeed him.
The late sultan became leader of the Sulu sultanate in October 2013 upon the death of his eldest brother, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, the father of Princess Jacel.
The Sulu sultanate was established in 1390 by Rajah Baginda and rose to be the richest and most powerful in the region.
After the United States' occupation of the Philippines in 1898, following its victory in the war with Spain, the power and prestige of the sultanate diminished. Under US colonization, the Sultanate of Sulu was virtually abolished and the Sultan reduced to a mere religious figurehead.
In February 2013, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III sent over 200 members of the sultanate's Royal Security Force to assert the throne's unresolved claim to Sabah, which Malaysia considers as a state. The standoff between the sultan's followers and Malaysian forces led to the death of 60 people, 52 Filipinos and 8 Malaysian policemen.
Jamalul Kiram III sent his other brother, Agbimuddin to lead the so-called Lahat Datu invasion. Agbimuddin died in January 2015.
Malaysia's The Star reported that the son of Sultan Esmail Kiram II is detained in Kota Kinabalu under the Security Offences Act in relation to the standoff.
The sultanate claims it leased Sabah to the British North Borneo Company in 1878. The state fell under British control after the second world war, and joined Malaysia in 1963. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com