Malaysian Forces Attack Filipinos
By Harold Hutchison
A simmering border dispute erupted in violence when Malaysian forces attacked an armed Filipino group which is asserting a decades-old claim to a portion of Borneo. At least 31 Filipinos and ten Malaysian policemen have been killed so far.
About 200 members of the Sultanate of Sulu landed in the disputed region in the middle of February. The militants have since engaged in an armed standoff that has been very violent.
Malaysian fighter jets carried out air strikes for about 30 minutes on Tuesday, before Malaysian troops moved in to clear the area. However, a spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu stated that the Filipinos intended to keep fighting.
"The truth is, some are scared. Who wouldn't be, given the odds? Two-hundred eleven, against 100,000 plus," Abraham Idjirani said. "As Malaysian forces fire their guns, in sacrificing their own lives in order to kill them, they [the Filipino group] will get crushed."
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was in Kuala Lumpur for talks with the Malaysian government about the situation.