Sabah gunmen to face murder charges?

MANILA, Philippines - The Filipino gunmen engaged in the standoff in Sabah may face murder charges in Malaysia for the deaths of 8 police officers, a government official said on Tuesday, March 5.

“If they have broken the laws of Malaysia, they should be charged in the court of Malaysia for whatever crime they have committed, certainly murder,” a Bermana report quoted minister for parliamentary affairs Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Nazri said that what the group of Filipinos did in Sabah "is not a war, it is an intrusion into our country by foreigners, on our sovereignty.”

“If there is a war, then the Geneva Convention will come into play. But it is not. It is still at a stage of intrusion," he stressed.

Malaysian security forces launched on Tuesday fresh attacks on the more than 100 Filipino gunmen holed up in Tanduao, Lahad Datu and nearby villages in Sabah, forcing villagers to flee their homes.

So far no casualties have been reported on either side.

Malaysian media earlier said that the "intruders" had been defeated by [the] Malaysian security forces' overwhelming firepower."

The group of Filipinos is led by Raja Muda Kiram, the brother of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who refused to back down and insists his men will not surrender and abandon their historical claim over Sabah, once part of the Islamic sultanate. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/