Malaysian forces surround 100 Filipinos on Borneo Island

Malaysian armed forces is alarmed by a breakaway rebel faction from southern Philippines while the Philippine authorities claim the 100 men surrounded by Malaysian forces are innocent people who were promised land. The class in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state on Borneo Island is likely to worsen the relationship between the two Southeast Asian neighbors.

“Our firepower is more than enough to arrest them but the government has chosen to negotiate with them so they leave peacefully to return to the south of the Philippines,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly said on his visit to Sabah.

The Philippine government signed a landmark peace deal with Muslim rebels in 2012. The agreement was aimed at halting a 40-year conflict in the south, but some rebel groups have raised voice against it.

The Malaysian police claims that the situation is under control. However, the Filipinos have not yet agreed to return. On the other hand, Raul Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Philippine Foreign Ministry, said his

government is in touch with Malaysian officials and is trying to resolve the matter.

“We know that these people arrived there five days ago and most of them are from nearby islands,” said a Philippine official. “Some of them were already residents in Sabah for a long time and they normally cross the border without any problem.”

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