Malaysia, PH ships monitor waters between Sabah, Sulu
MANILA, Philippines – Malaysian and Philippine ships are closely monitoring the waters between Sabah and Sulu amid reports that thousands of Tausugs are sailing to the village of Lahad Datu to reinforce the Sulu “royal army.”
“From the navy side, we have been told that there are a number of ships there and they are monitoring the area jointly with the Malaysian navy,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters in a briefing Wednesday.
He said that this was “to make sure that some of the supporters of the group in Lahad Datu would not go and make the situation more tense [and] so that the situation would not escalate further.”
Habib Hashim Mudjahab, chair of the MNLF’s Islamic Council Committee, previously told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an exclusive interview that: “We can no longer prevent our people. We are hurt and many of our people, even the non-combatants, are going to Sabah to help the sultanate.”
He reportedly said that at least 10,000 Tausugs from Sulu and surrounding areas have begun sailing to Sabah in small numbers and that any naval blockade was useless.
Malaysian media reported on Wednesday afternoon that a small boat with several people on it was stopped by a navy ship near the place where daily media briefings by the police are held.
Hernandez said that they have not received any reports of people trying to go to Sabah since they began their blockade.
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