MANILA, Philippines – Updates on the standoff between Malaysian security forces and the armed Filipinos ended in violence Friday.
There were 2 police officers and up to 12 members of the Philippine group killed as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak declared his patience has reached its limit.
Confirmed the Malaysian police deaths and said that 10 – 12 Filipinos had been killed after their group tried to break through security cordon around the village where they had been held up for more than 2 weeks, Najib was quoted by state news agency Bernama.
Both the Philippine and Malaysian governments repeatedly urged them to return home.
Estimated 100 followers of the Sultanate of Sulu in the southern Philippines landed in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah last month demanding recognition and asking payment from the Malaysian government.
Najib said he had now given Malaysian security forces a mandate to take “any action” against the group. Most of the group was still at large after fleeing the fight and Malaysian police declared a curfew in the area.
Najib said earlier, “do not test our patience; our patience has reached the limit.”
According to the Malaysian Prime Minister, who must call national elections by April and has come under pressure from the opposition for allowing the standoff take longer than it should have, “We have a plan to remove them, and they should have surrendered and left.”
Police said there were 3 Malaysian police officers wounded in the shoot-out.