Sabah Standoff: Sultan’s men won’t leave despite deadline

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04:53 PM February 22nd, 2013

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By: Nikko Dizon, February 22nd, 2013 04:53 PM

Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram talks to reporters during a news conference in Alabang, south of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. His followers who crossed to the Malaysian state of Sabah this month will not leave and are reclaiming the area as their ancestral territory, the sultan said Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, amid a tense standoff. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

MANILA, Philippines—The followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III holed up in Lahad Datu town in Sabah refused to leave despite the Friday deadline set by Malaysia.

Jamalul, his brother Ishmael and wife Princess Fatima Cecilia and some of their followers faced the media on Friday in a press conference at the Blue Mosque in Maharlika Village in Taguig City, saying they will consult their followers regarding their next move.

Princess Fatima, who is the sultan’s spokesperson, said the family wants the Sabah issue to be resolved before the International Court of Justice and that they are open to negotiate with Malaysia.

She also said that the family was hurt by President Benigno Aquino’s statement that the Sabah issue was “dormant” but she welcomed his directive for his top Cabinet officials to study the Sabah claim issue.

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