May 11, 2011

North Borneo Hero : Aki Kulindod of the Momogun

Aki Kulindod was a Momogun warrior from Kirangavan Bandau. He was the guardian of the coastal areas in Kudat, Marudu and Pitas.

He is a celebrated warrior and was said to be impervious to weapons of any kind including bullets. He fought against the British with guerrilla tactic and was said to fight alone in all his ambushes. 

Aki Kulindod opposed the British because they had required every Momogons that lived around the Kudat area to pay a levy. As retaliation to this oppressive tax, Aki Kulindod attacked British ships .

Eventually, he agreed to a truce with the British for fear that the British would attack innocent Momoguns as retaliation to his attacks. However, this truce was short-lived. Soon his friend Kadim, who was also fighting the British because of the tax requested for his assistance. 

Aki Kulindong agreed to help Kadim and his followers with conditions. Aki Kulindong himself would not fight the British openly because of the truce that he made with the British. He told Kadim that when they are in a battle with the British, he would go to the vicinity of the battleground and shall cause the weapons of the British to malfunction. However, Kadim and his men were not to shout in celebration when this happen. This was the condition set by the "Semangat Ansamung" (Spirit of Ansamung) that protected and the source of Aki Kulindong's supernatural power.

Whenever the British attacked Kadim and his men, Aki Kulindong would mount his water buffalo with sacks of rice that were gifts from Kadim and passed through the area where the fighting was. The sack of rice perhaps served as a ruse to explain why Aki Kulindong was at the vicinity of the fighting. Perhaps Aki Kulindong would say that he was just passing by after concluding a trade nearby, if the British ever question his presence.

Perhaps emboldened by their many successes, one day Kadim told his men that fighting the British without the sounds of British guns and cannons exploding was not gratifying. He said they should just break the rule set by Aki Kulindod so that their grandchildren would remember that these battles as theirs and not Aki Kulindod. 

Kadim and his men began shouting and just as they did that, the charm that Aki Kulindod placed on the British's guns and cannons was broken. Aki Kulindod's water buffalo was shot dead by a cannon and he realized then that Kadim and his men had broken the rule.

Kadim and his men were cut down by British fire. Some of Kadim's men escaped and told Aki Kulindod to flee with them. However, Aki Kulindod declined but he asked the men to deliver a message to his family in Kiravangan. His daughter was to be sent to Pitas while his son was to be sent to Matunggong and if the British was to ask his family about him, they were to tell him that Aki Kulindod was an adventurer and did not have a family. Hence, severing his ties with the Momoguns in Kiravangan so that they would not be dragged into this conflict. 

After the men agreed to do his bidding, Aki Kulindod attacked the British until they retreated from their area. 

Long after the battle, the British was on the manhunt for Aki Kulindod and they entered the Momogun area in search of him. Aki Kulindod ambushed the British few more time before he surrendered to them on the advice of a Bobolizan(priest).

The British tried many ways to kill Aki Kulindod while in their custody but failed. Realizing that he must die to prevent the British from attacking his beloved Momogun people, Aki Kulindod made himself vulnerable to the British's weapons. Only then Aki Kulindod was killed. 

Not long after, the British captured Aki Tumanggung, the last high Priest of the Momoguns, the de facto King of the Momoguns, a fact that the British acknowledged.

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