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Malaysia arrests Filipino politicians

Repercussions continue after Sabah uprising reporter, Manila

April 10, 2013

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Malaysian authorities have arrested at least 32 Filipinos, some of them politicians campaigning for the May mid-term elections, in the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the Filipinos strayed into Sabah where Malaysian security forces continue to hunt for followers of the so-called Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram who occupied a part of Sabah in February, sparking clashes that left more than 60 people dead.

Taib said guns and other weapons were found on the boat carrying the Filipinos who were intercepted off the coast of Lahad Datu town on Monday.

Among those reported arrested were Mayor Rommel Matba of Languyan, who belongs to President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party.

They were reportedly heading for Taganak Island near the Sabah border when a Malaysian police patrol intercepted them about 12 nautical miles off Tambisan Island.

The arrest came amid new reports that about 100 Muslim fighters who had volunteered to reinforce the embattled followers of Kiram were heading to Sabah. 

Kiram's spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, said some 400 men from the provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi have already arrived there.

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