ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Philippine government's humanitarian team tasked to check the condition of the Filipinos in Sabah has arrived in Lahad Datu.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao acting governor Mujiv Hataman said that based on the report of the Crisis Management Committee from Malaysia, the humanitarian team has arrived in Felda Sahabat, three kilometers away from Kampung Tandou where the Sulu Sultanate's army led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram holed up before the clashes started two weeks ago.
Hataman said that the humanitarian team is composed of 11 people led by Department of Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Parishya Taradji.
Kiram's group arrived in Kampung Tandou last month to assert the sultanate's claim over the area, which they consider as their ancestral land.
Hataman said that the humanitarian team has visited evacuation centers, where Filipino civilians are staying.
The regional governor said that Taradji's team is only one of the five humanitarian teams formed by the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia. The other four are deployed to Sandakan, Semporna and Kota Kinabalu.
Hataman said that he has yet to receive reports from the humanitarian teams regarding the real condition of the Filipino evacuees in Sabah.
There are several reports that Malaysian authorities are mistreating Filipino evacuees in Sabah.
Escaping refugees who ran to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu after escaping Sabah claimed that they were physically abused by Malaysian security forces.
The government is already looking into the complaint of the refugees.