100 Filipinos arrive in Tawi-Tawi from strife-torn Sabah

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09:44 AM March 9th, 2013

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By: Julie Alipala, Karlos Manlupig, March 9th, 2013 09:44 AM

NOWHERE TO GO. Filipino evacuees from strife-torn Sabah arrive in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi Friday night, uncertain of their future in the Philippines because they have no jobs or homes here. Many of the people that have fled due to Malaysia’s crackdown on followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram have lived on the Malaysian state for decades, while others were born and raised there by their immigrant parents. KARLOS MANLUPIG/Inquirer Mindanao

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — Traveling for hours aboard two vessels, at least 100 Filipinos from Sandakan arrived in Bongao late Friday night as Malaysian authorities continued their purging operation against armed followers of the Sultanate of Sulu and their suspected supporters in Sabah.

The displaced persons are presently staying in a temporary evacuation center in Bongao while an inter-agency crisis unit is already attending to their needs.

In Sulu, nearly a thousand people have arrived since early this week — including those outside what Malaysian authorities had described as the red zones of Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kunak — in a bid to evade the crackdown that have not spared even Sabahans known as Orang Suluk (people who originated from Sulu).

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin has called on the government to intervene to ensure that innocent Filipinos in Sabah were spared from the crackdown that has resulted in the arrest of nearly 80 people, women included.

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