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February 14, 2013 23:55 PM

Police Identify Filipino Group Intruding Lahad Datu

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- The police have identified a group of Philippine nationals who intruded the waters off Lahad Datu, Sabah as decendents of the 'Sulu King' from Southern Philippines.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said, the group wanted to be recognised as the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu, and it did not want its people who were of Sulu origin, to be sent back to their country of origin.

"We have sent a team to negotiate with them. Discussion is proceeding well and we have told them to leave Sabah peacefully, as we do not want any situation which can threaten the security of the people," he told a press conference at Terminal 2, Kota Kinabalu International Airport here Thursday.

Ismail said, the group which was currently at Kampung Tandau, Labisan in Lahad Datu gave an assurance they would leave Sabah as soon as possible, provided their demand was met.

He hoped members of the group would leave the state as soon as possible, and stressed that any demand should be made diplomatically.

"Negotiations are under control and the security forces have taken early measures since yesterday, to surround the village. I believe the situation can be resolved soon.

"The police estimate there are more than 100 people in the group, and do not rule out they are armed. Nevertheless, the police are taking a 'careful' approach to face any eventuality.

"So far, the situation is not tense and they (the group) appear to be behaving well. We believe the group has friends in the village but do not have homes there.

"They have put up in the 'surau' and houses in the village," said Ismail, adding that the group, which came via boat, did not want to be linked to any militant group in the Philippines.



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