Published: Friday March 8, 2013 MYT 3:11:00 PM
Updated: Friday March 8, 2013 MYT 3:22:53 PM
Lahad Datu: Philippine navy intercepts two boatloads of 80 people fleeing Sabah
PETALING JAYA: Two motorboats loaded with some 80 people have been intercepted while entering Philippine waters from Sabah, the Philippine Inquirer reported Friday.
Navy Capt Rene Yongque of Task Force 62 in Tawi-Tawi said personnel aboard the patrol ship spotted the two boats around 9am and were escorting them to Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
He said those in the boats were Filipinos fleeing Sabah and were not followers of self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
"They will immediately be turned over to the Task Force Basulta on Sabah Crisis for processing. I repeat, they are not armed nor they are followers of Kiram. They are just ordinary people." he said.
A group of armed gunmen holed up in Kampung Tanduo, near Lahad Datu on Sabah's east coast, were involved in a stand-off with Malaysian security forces from Feb 9.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian armed and police forces launched an all-out offensive against the gunmen, said to be followers of Kiram.
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