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Southeast Asia
Malaysia arrests more than 100 Filipino militants
2013-02-16
Malaysian officials arrested more than 100 armed Filipino guerrillas, who were wearing military fatigues. Malaysia said that the Filipinos were surrounded near Lahad Datu, Sabah, by Malaysian security forces and ordered to surrender.

Malaysian police Inspector-General Tan Sri Ismail Omar said, the "situation is under control and the people have nothing to worry." He said the armed Filipinos, thought to be members of "a militant group" from Mindanao, arrived on the shore of Lahad Datu by boat.

Filipino terrorists militants have demanded official recognition as members of the Sultanate of Sulu along with an assurance from Malaysia that their members who enter Borneo wouldn't be forcibly returned to the Philippines.

The standoff triggered one of the biggest security scares in recent years in Sabah, which is less than an hour by speedboat from Philippine provinces that have a Muslim separatist insurgency.

The intruders landed in Sabah's coastal district of Lahad Datu, Omar said, in the aftermath of "troubles in the southern Philippines."

Border security issues have increased problems for the Malay Sabah province, to where tens of thousands of Filipinos have tried to immigrate over the past several decades. Not all of the immigrants are seeking a better life; a decade ago, gunmen from Mindanao slipped twice into Sabah and abducted people, including tourists from a diving resort, for a ransom. Last November two Malaysians were seized from a plantation in Lahad Datu and Malay officials say they were subsequently transferred to Mindanao.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had been visiting Sabah when the incident occurred, said "The government is choosing to handle the issue through negotiation and to get the group to leave peacefully to prevent bloodshed."

The identity of the Filipino militants has not yet been determined, with some reports speculating that they belong to various Filipino Muslim guerrilla factions fleeing from recent violence there but some Malay officials have speculated that they might in fact be personal security guards for a Muslim royal family in the southern Philippines who apparently failed to inform Malay authorities that they intended to travel to Sabah.
Posted by:ryuge

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