Philippine sultan says followers will not leave Sabah
MANILA (AFP) - Followers of a Philippine sultan who crossed to the Malaysian state of Sabah this month will not leave and are reclaiming the area as their ancestral territory, the sultan said on Sunday amid a tense stand-off.
Sultan Jamalul Kiram said his followers - some 400 people, including 20 gunmen - were resolute in staying despite being cornered by security forces, with the Kuala Lumpur government insisting the group return to the Philippines.
"Why should we leave our own home? In fact, they (the Malaysians) are paying rent (to us)," he told reporters in Manila.
"Our followers will stay in (the Sabah town of) Lahad Datu. Nobody will be sent to the Philippines. Sabah is our home," he said.