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 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 7:39 AM EST, Tue November 25, 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