- Title: MALAYSIA: Officials respond to clashes with armed Filipinos
- Date: 1st March 2013
- Summary: LAHAD DATU, SABAH STATE, MALAYSIA (MARCH 1, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF POLICE AND ARMY AT ROADBLOCK VARIOUS OF ARMY OFFICER CHECKING IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS VARIOUS OF POLICE HOLDING GUN GUN (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Malaysia) SABAH POLICE CHIEF HAMZA TAIB SAYING: "In the 20 to 30 minute-fights, two men from our side were killed and another three were injured. As far as we know twelve of the intruders were dead." ROADBLOCK VARIOUS OF ARMY PERSONNEL (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Malaysia) SABAH POLICE CHIEF HAMZA TAIB SAYING: "For your information there is no curfew being imposed in Lahad Datu and in other areas, as according to the police law, a curfew had to be imposed by police chief of Sabah."
- Embargoed: 16th March 2013 12:00
- Location: Malaysia
- Country: Malaysia
- Topics: Crime,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAEA76COKGX69TT5LX0J7F6O7LK
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: A standoff between Malaysian security forces and armed Filipinos erupted in violence on Friday (March 1), with two police officers and 12 members of the Philippine group killed.
"In the 20 to 30 minute-fights, two men from our side were killed and another three were injured. As far as we know twelve of the intruders were dead," Sabah police chief Hamza Taib told a news conference.
The group of at least 100 Filipinos, are the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu in the southern Philippines, who is demanding recognition as the "rightful" owners of Sabah.
He added, the killings occurred in the morning when security forces tightened the cordon around the group in the state on Borneo Island were attacked, resulting in a 30-minute firefight.
Hamza said the remaining Filipinos were still holed up, contradicting Philippine government officials who said some had surrendered while others had fled.
The police denied an earlier local report saying that a curfew was imposed.
"For your information there is no curfew being imposed in Lahad Datu and in other areas, as according to the police law, a curfew had to be imposed by police chief of Sabah," said Hamza.
Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussien said, Malaysian authorities had given a large enough time frame for the group to retreat and they were taking the necessary action to resolve the issue.
"Whatever actions that could been taken today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow, are to ensure that this matter can be resolved as soon as possible. I believe no party should blame the authorities for not giving them enough space and time to resolve the issue in peace and without bloodshed," said Hishammuddin.
The confrontation had threatened to reignite tension between the Philippines and Malaysia. Ties have been periodically frayed by security and migration problems along their sea border.
A spokesman for the armed group, Abraham Idjirani, told reporters in Manila that the men had moved to another location to continue their fight and urged Malaysia to hold talks.
The group landed in Sabah last month demanding recognition and payment from the Malaysian government. Both the Philippine and Malaysian governments had repeatedly urged them to return home.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None