From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 16): 200 Filipinos in Sabah urged to leave peacefully
Malaysia is asking an estimated 200 Filipinos, initially reported in the media
as members of a breakaway faction of a Philippine Muslim rebel group, to leave
Lahad Datu in Eastern Sabah peacefully, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs said
This was conveyed by Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in a phone call
to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, assuring that Malaysia is
addressing the presence of the Filipinos, some of whom are armed, in Sabah.
Malaysian media earlier reported that the Filipinos “intruded” into the
remote coastal district of Lahad Datu on Tuesday.
They have reportedly been surrounded by police and were ordered to surrender
According to the DFA, the activity of this Filipino group, whose presence in
the area remains a mystery, was “not sanctioned” by the Philippine government.
Del Rosario sought the assurance of the Malaysian authorities to ensure that
the rights of those Filipinos, who the DFA claimed are “permanent residents in
Sabah and who may be among the group,” are respected.
“In this regard, we therefore urge these concerned individuals to return to
their homes and families,” the DFA said in a statement.
It also said that Philippine military and police authorities are exchanging
information and closely consulting with their Malaysian counterparts in efforts
towards an immediate resolution to this incident.
At the same time, increased patrols and tighter security measures have been
put in place in waters off Tawi-Tawi and adjoining islands, it added.