News / Asia

Philippines Seeking Peaceful Solution to Malaysian Sabah Conflict

Malaysian police personnel checks identity of passengers on a road leading to Kampung Tanduo, where Malaysian troops stormed the camp of an armed Filipino group, in Lahad Datu, Sabah state, March 8, 2013.
Malaysian police personnel checks identity of passengers on a road leading to Kampung Tanduo, where Malaysian troops stormed the camp of an armed Filipino group, in Lahad Datu, Sabah state, March 8, 2013.
Simone Orendain
With more than 50 Philippine citizens reported dead in clashes in the Malaysian province of Sabah, officials in Manila says it may be time for a surrender. The fighting started when about 200 people from the southwestern Philippines entered a town in Sabah, re-asserted a centuries- old claim to the eastern Malaysian province and refused to leave.

Philippine government officials say for weeks they have been calling for followers of the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu to surrender and leave. But the group's leader, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, has refused.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a televised briefing Friday that the Philippines is exhausting all options to bring peace.

"We continue to feel strongly, one way to save lives is to lay down their arms. Our concern is a win-win solution for them as well as for us - for them to be able to preserve their lives,” he said.

Malaysian authorities started their military operation against the group a week ago. This week they intensified the campaign with a 30-minute air raid in the vicinity of Lahad Datu, where the group had hunkered down for weeks.

Malaysian state media reported 52 Filipinos and eight Malaysian officers have been killed in various skirmishes.

On Thursday Kiram called for a cease-fire by his armed followers, after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a statement urging an end to the fighting and calling all parties to come together to talk. But Malaysia rejected the Kiram group’s proposal to cease hostilities, saying they would only accept a surrender.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez says if Kiram's followers give up their weapons it would end the bloodshed.

"Because there was a rejection from the Malaysian side, it could be that this would be the last remaining option for the Kirams,” he explained.

Malaysian police have been going after reportedly armed Philippine nationals whom they say fled from encounters with authorities in the area. Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar says the pursuit is ongoing.

"We will continue the operation as there is no sign the enemies will lay down their weapons and surrender," he said.

The centuries-old Sultanate of Sulu includes several islands in the southwestern Philippines and Sabah in eastern Malaysia. And the Kiram group, which is headed by one of several claimants to the Sultanate, has been receiving a nominal rental fee from the Malaysian government for Sabah since Malaysia became independent of British rule in 1963.

Since February 9, the family had been demanding talks with the government to try to increase the fee.

Philippine Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the group's claim to Sabah is now being studied by the Philippine government. The last sultan recognized by the Philippine government was Mahakuttah A. Kiram, who reigned from 1974 until1986.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid