67 Kiram supporters in Tawi-Tawi attempt to leave for Sabah
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2013 - 2:53pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Police on Tuesday prevented nearly 70 supporters of the Sultanate of Sulu from slipping out of Mindanao to reinforce the sultanate's army engaged in an armed confrontation with Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Senior Superintendent Joselito Salido, Tawi-Tawi provincial police director, said that 67 followers of the sultanate have arrived in Bonggao town.

“We negotiated and talked with them not to reconsider their plans as this will only contribute to the problem,” Salido said.

Salido said that the police's higher headquarters has ordered the Tawi-Tawi provincial police office to be on the lookout for the sultanate's supporters who may attempt to leave for Sabah and reinforce the group of Sulu Raja Muda (Crown Prince) Agbimuddin Kiram.

“That is the order from higher headquarters to prevent them from going there (Sabah),” Salido said.

He said that the 67 sultanate followers came from Basilan and Sulu, but they were not armed.

Salido stressed that the situation in Bongao was relatively calm.

Meanwhile, a boat packed with fleeing residents of Sabah arrived shortly before noon Tuesday in Sibuto.

Salido said that according to the refugees, they left Sabah because of the escalatig violence there.

He said that majority of the refugees are Filipinos who have been living in Sabah for many years already.

The provincial government has coordinated with various agencies to assist the refugees.

AGBIMUDDIN KIRAM BASILAN AND SULU BONGAO CROWN PRINCE LAHAD DATU SABAH SALIDO SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT JOSELITO SALIDO SULTANATE OF SULU SULU RAJA MUDA TAWI-TAWI
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