The Philippines sent six navy ships and an aircraft to the seas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi as deadline for the Sultanate of Sulu’s “royal army” to leave Sabah looms, officials said.
PH navy ships near Sabah as deadline for ‘Sulu army’ to leave looms
LAHAD DATU, Sabah—The Philippines sent six navy ships and an aircraft to the seas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi as deadline for the Sultanate of Sulu’s “royal army” to leave Sabah looms, officials said.
The ships from the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard were patrolling the waters less than half an hour by speed boat from the seaside village of Tandau in Sabah, where the Sulu group of royal followers has been in a standoff with Malaysian authorities since February 9, Philippines Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commodore Gregory Fabic said Friday.
“We are conducting maritime security patrol. We were given instruction to do this to prevent the movement of people [to and from Sabah],” Fabic told Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.
“This is also to prevent the escalation of the Sabah issue,” he said.
Aside from six naval vessels and a Philippine Navy Islander aircraft, ships from the Philippine Coast Guard were also sent to the area as the country intensified its watch on the Sulu Sea amid a Friday deadline imposed by Malaysia for the Sulu group to leave the area.
Fabic said that the naval vessels would not dock in Sabah but were there only to help make the situation stabilize.
He said there were no instructions given for the evacuation of the Sulu group of about 100 men led by Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
“We are hoping that this will be resolved peacefully. If they are retreating, we are not there to help them because we need instructions if they can be picked up,” Fabic was quoted as saying.
Source: Inquirer Global Nation.