KUALA LUMPUR • Nine Filipinos who were part of an armed group that invaded and occupied part of Malaysian Borneo in 2013 have been sentenced to hang.
The bloody incursion by some 200 Sulu Muslim militants from the southern Philippines was inspired by a self-proclaimed Filipino sultanate's claims of historical dominion over the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island.
The assault led to a siege between the militants and Malaysia's armed forces. At least 70 people were killed, mostly militants, over the six-week ordeal. The episode eventually fizzled out when some of the militants fled the oil palm plantation where they had been holed up and returned to the Philippines.
The nine had initially been handed life sentences last year but prosecutors appealed for a stiffer penalty.
"With this sentence, I am satisfied," Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin told AFP. "Hopefully this will deter other nations from intruding into Sabah and Malaysia." The Philippines said it would ask Malaysia to reconsider the death penalty.