|Under fire Filipino intruders in Malaysia island call time
The self-appointed Philippine sultan whose followers launched a deadly incursion into Malaysia called for a ceasefire as Malaysian troops continued to hunt for his elusive fighters.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged a peaceful resolution of a bizarre incursion that has led to at least 28 reported deaths and escalated into Malaysia's biggest security crisis in years, AFP reports.
It also coincided with a visit to the stricken corner of Borneo island by Malaysian premier Najib Razak.
The “sultan,’’ Jamalul Kiram III, declared a unilateral ceasefire for 12:30 pm local time and urged Malaysia to reciprocate, according to a statement read out by his spokesman in Manila.
“They will not take any action. They will remain in the place where they are now. They will not expand operations,'' the spokesman said, referring to the militants, believed to number between 100 and 300, in Malaysia's Sabah state.
The spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, said Kiram was responding to Ban's appeal Wednesday for a cessation of hostilities in the Malaysian state of Sabah.
“[Ban]urges an end to the violence and encourages dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation,'' a statement released by his office said.
Malaysian officials did not immediately respond to the appeal.
Kiram sent his followers from their southern Philippine island homes across the Sulu Sea to assert an ancestral claim to Sabah. At least 28 people, mostly militants, have been reported killed since an initial stand-off began more than three weeks ago in the sleepy farming village of Tanduo.