Filipino 'militants' in standoff with Malaysian forces
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2013 - 10:12am

MANILA, Philippines - Malaysian authorities rounded up at least 100 armed Filipinos wearing military fatigues in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Malaysia's national news agency, Bernama, reported that the armed group, believed to have come from Mindanao, have been surrounded by Malaysian security forces and have been ordered to surrender as of Wednesday night.

The news agency quoted Tan Sri Ismail Omar, the Malaysian police's inspector-general, as saying the "situation is under control and the people have nothing to worry."

It also reported that the armed Filipinos, believed to be members of "a militant group" based in Mindanao, arrived in the shore of Lahad Datu by pump boats on Wednesday night.

The news agency reported that the "encroachment" was due to the problems occurring in the southern Philippines."

Security on Malaysia's sea border with the Philippines has been problematic for Sabah, where tens of thousands of Filipino have tried to immigrate over the past few decades.

In 2000, gunmen from Mindanao slipped twice into Sabah and abducted people for ransom, including tourists from a diving resort.

One of the most recent kidnappings involved two Malaysians snatched from a plantation in Lahad Datu in November. They were believed to have been taken to Mindanao.

Last week, members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) raided the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group in the jungles of Patikul in Sulu province in an effort to rescue its foreign captives.

The attacks came after the Abu Sayyaf group released two Filipino crewmen of Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani. with Associated Press

ABU SAYYAF ASSOCIATED PRESS BAKER ATYANI BERNAMA LAHAD DATU MINDANAO MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT PATIKUL SABAH TAN SRI ISMAIL OMAR
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