Malaysia frees 32 Filipinos held over incursion
Sabah state police chief Hamza Taib was quoted by Malaysian media saying the 32 men would be deported back to the Philippines after investigators concluded they had no link with the ongoing incursion.
More than 200 armed followers of a self-styled sultan landed in the state of Sabah on Borneo island in February, reviving a centuries-old land claim by the long-defunct Sulu sultanate, once based in the southern Philippines.
Fighting between the militants and security forces has killed at least 68 Filipinos and 10 Malaysian security personnel, authorities have said.
But Hamza said police determined that the 32 men, who were caught in a wooden motor boat off Sabah armed with guns and machetes, were part of a team of campaigners for a mayoral election in the southern Philippines whose boat had veered off course.
"Those who enter Sabah illegally bearing weapons will be detained and investigated... although we know that in the Philippines, people having guns and weapons is like us having a handphone," Hamza was quoted saying by the website of Malaysia's The Star newspaper.
Authorities are still trying to flush out scattered militant remnants and their sympathisers to end Malaysia's worst security crisis in recent years.
For centuries, people have moved back and forth across the porous sea border separating Sabah and the adjacent southern Philippines, known for its lawlessness and Islamic insurgencies.
The Sabah incursion has aroused heated sentiments on both sides, with Malaysians outraged by the territorial breach, while many in the Philippines have voiced support for the militants.
- Chinese police shoot dead dozens after attack in Xinjiang
- Dozens killed in terror attack in China's Xinjiang: Xinhua
- Dozens killed and injured in terror attack in China's Xinjiang
- Rare Sri Lankan leopards born in French zoo
- McDonald's Japan pulls profit forecast after China meat scandal
- Great apes face extinction: conservationist Jane Goodall
- EU hits 4 Putin allies, 4 Russian firms over Ukraine and MH17
- France hands over suspected Jewish Museum gunman to Belgium
- Islamic State video shows mass executions to shake Iraqi soldiers
- China puts former security chief under investigation
- Malaysia can use security act to try MH17 culprit, says Wan Junaidi – Bernama
- MAS flight MH136 stops takeoff to avoid crashing into jet
- WhatsApp texts show PAS can’t be trusted, say social media users
- Muhyiddin worries MB change may bode ill for Selangor water project – Bernama
- It was only a study, Zuhdi says of contentious WhatsApp texts
- DAP joins PKR in censuring PAS over controversial WhatsApp message
- PAS’s non-Muslim supporters to abide by leadership’s call on position in Pakatan
- Najib congratulates gold medal Games winners – Bernama
- This is all about Hadi v moderates in PAS
- PAS moves to distance party from viral WhatsApp text
- MAS hit with wave of cancellations, says report
- PKR hits out at PAS after leaked WhatsApp message
- Retire, PAS member tells Anwar for dragging Malaysians into his personal agenda
- Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies
- PAS issues gag order on Selangor MB issue, says report