|Filipino invaders say Malaysians troops shot 31 civilians
A group of Filipino invaders that has triggered a security crisis in Sabah claimed that civilians have been killed by Malaysian forces and rejected Kuala Lumpur's claims that 31 clansmen were gunned down today.
The armed invaders -- labeled terrorists by Malaysia -- have wreaked political havoc for both Malaysia and Philippines by trying to stake a long-dormant royal territorial claim to Malaysia's sprawling, resource-rich state of Sabah in Borneo, AP reports.
Most Filipinos had eluded capture in a coastal Sabah district after Malaysian forces attacked them with airstrikes and mortar fire on Tuesday.
Police and military forces tracking them waged a gunbattle that ended in the deaths of 31 clansmen today, national police chief Ismail Omar said, adding that no Malaysians were injured.
Abraham Idjirani, a Philippine-based representative for the clansmen, said he spoke by telephone in the evening with the group's leader, who insisted all of them remained accounted for. He claimed Malaysian forces had instead killed dozens of civilian villagers, but none of them was clansmen.
The conflicting claims could not immediately be explained.
Ismail said at least 52 Filipinos have now been killed in the past week since hostilities in the Sabah security crisis escalated. Eight policemen also were fatally shot by the Filipino clansmen and their allies last week in various parts of Sabah.