Published: Friday February 15, 2013 MYT 8:38:00 PM
Updated: Friday February 15, 2013 MYT 8:54:50 PM
Police have back-up plan if negotiations with armed group in Lahad Datu stall
By RUBEN SARIO
KOTA KINABALU: Police have drawn up contingency measures in the event of a breakdown in their negotiations with a group of armed Filipino nationals holed up in Lahad Datu district.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said Friday that talks were ongoing with the group members, who have declared themselves as followers of a descendent of the Sultan of Sulu.
"We have other plans," he said Friday when asked what would happen if negotiations with the group of about 100 individuals ended in a stalemate.
Hamza said he was optimistic that the situation would be resolved very soon with the group returning home.
He said police came to know of the presence of the group, whose demands include being recognised as the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army, on Feb 12.
The group also demanded that the subjects of the Sulu Sultan in Sabah not be deported from the state.
Hamza said 32 individuals landed at Kampung Tanduao on that day and police immediately cordoned off the area.
He said the group had chosen the village, located at the eastern-most part of the Dent Peninsula, as it was closest to the Philippine islands of Bungay and Sibutu.
The area is a mere 22km from international waters, he said, adding that Philippine islands were about an hour by boat.
He the situation in the village remained calm, adding that Malaysian authorities were also in contact with Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F del Rosario.
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