Skip to main content

Philippines president calls for surrender after standoff turns deadly

From Alba Prifti, CNN
updated 1:49 AM EST, Sat March 2, 2013
A Malaysian policemen mans a security check in the areas where suspected Philippine militants are located in Borneo on Monday.
A Malaysian policemen mans a security check in the areas where suspected Philippine militants are located in Borneo on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 100 Filipinos arrived by boat on the Malaysian coast in February
  • They say they represent a sultanate that once ruled the area
  • "The only correct thing for you to do is to surrender," president says

(CNN) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III ordered a group of Muslim rebels to surrender Saturday after an ongoing standoff led to bloodshed.

"From the very start, our objective has been to avoid the loss of lives and the shedding of blood," Aquino said in a statement Saturday. "If you have grievances, the path you chose was wrong. The just, and indeed, the only correct thing for you to do is to surrender."

The peculiar standoff, which started in February on Borneo between Malaysian security forces and a group of men from the southern Philippines, has its roots in a recent landmark peace deal between Manila and Muslim rebels, according to experts on the region.

More than 100 men from the mainly Muslim southern Philippines came ashore in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo, demanding to be recognized as representatives of a sultanate that has historical claims on the area.

Their claims touch on an unresolved territorial question between the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as Manila's efforts to improve relations with Islamic insurgents in the country's south after decades of violence.

Malaysian police and armed forces soon surrounded the village in the eastern Sabah district of Lahad Datu, where the men had gathered. Police officials said they were negotiating with the group in an effort to persuade its members to return to their homes in the Philippines peacefully.

Ten to 12 of the gunmen, and two Malaysian commandos were killed in clashes in the area,the official Philippines News Agency reported.

CNN's Jennifer Deaton contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT