Published on: Friday, February 15, 2013
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the group comprised the Sulu sultanate descendants from Southern Philippines.
He did not specify which among the several Sulu sultanate claimants they belong to but that they agreed to leave the country if two conditions were met.
These were that they be recognised as the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army and that Sulu people in Sabah would not be deported to the Philippines.
The group, he said, does not want to be associated with any militant group, adding that the leader was from the Sulu Sultanate family line.
"We have sent a team to negotiate with them, which went smoothly and we have informed them that they have to leave the State properly because we do not want our safety to be jeopardised.
"They assured us they would leave on the grounds that their conditions be met but we hope they would leave soon as possible.
"They should make their conditions through the proper channels and not by encroaching into our country the way they did," he said.
"They have to leave and must respect the laws of our country."
He said the situation in Kg Tandau is under control thanks to the prompt action from the police in surrounding the village.
To a question, he said, the men do not look like militants but police have not ruled out that they might have weapons.
"In my earlier statement, I mentioned that they are armed but we did not see any weapons on them. However, we are not taking any chances," he said.
"There are also no hostages, nothing untoward has happened and when our team went to negotiate with them, everything was under control," he said, adding that the men might have friends in the village but had decided to stay in the Surau at the village when their friends were not at home.
On how they entered the State, he said, they are still investigating but believed these men entered through tourist boats.
"The situation is under control, there are no tensions and do not believe in rumours or speculations," he said, adding that police would also conduct more roadblocks as safety measures.
I believe in the capability of the State Police Commissioner and our enforcement in handling this matter," he said when asked if there were any plans to get international assistance.