Philippine Navy ships patrol near Sabah

Updated: 2013-02-22 16:04


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MANILA - The Philippine government confirmed on Friday that it has sent six navy ships and an aircraft to the seas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi near the state of Sabah in Malaysia.

Philippine Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commodore Gregory Fabric was quoted by local media as saying that the ships were half an hour away by speedboat from the village of Tandau in Sabah where Sulu's "royal army" has been in a standoff with Malaysian authorities since Feb 9.

Fabic said the security patrol was launched to prevent the movement of people to and from Sabah.

An armed group of 100 Filipinos claiming to be members of the "royal army" of the Sultanate of Sulu was ordered by Malaysian authorities until Friday to leave the state.

The group of Filipinos had earlier announced that they would not leave Sabah as they are" subjects of the sultanate of Sulu."

Defense Secretary Votaire Gazmin said he and Malaysian Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi have committed to resolving the standoff peacefully.