Philippines asks Malaysia to allow humanitarian mission to Sabah
Manila - The Philippines on Friday called on Malaysia to allow a humanitarian mission to assess the condition of Filipinos involved in a conflict over a land claim in the eastern state of Sabah, where 60 people have been killed in a week of hostilities.
Malaysia said 52 Filipinos have been killed and 10 arrested in the fighting in Lahad Datu town, 1,600 kilometres east of Kuala Lumpur,since fighting broke out last week. Eight Malaysian police officers were also killed in the clashes.
"We are asking that our humanitarian mission be allowed to enter so we can check on the Filipinos," Foreign Ministry spokesman Raul Hernandez said. "We want to visit the arrested Filipinos, treat those who might be wounded and see how to help them." Philippine navy ships and a team of doctors and nurses were on standby in the southern Philippines province of Tawi-Tawi.//DPA
The crisis began on February 12 when more than 200 armed followersof Philippine Sultan Jamalul Kiram III set up camp in the village ofTanduo in Lahad Datu to assert their ancestral claim to Sabah.
The sultanate leased the land in 1878 to the British North BorneoCo, which passed it to Malaysia after it gained independence. KualaLumpur currently pays the sultan 5,300 ringgit (1,680 dollars) peryear in token rent.//DPA