Sabah insists: PH Navy shot 35 ‘Sulu militants’
Sabah police chief Hamza Taib says he could, however, only cite 'intelligence reports' since the incident did not happen within his jurisdiction

MANILA, Philippines – Who is telling the truth?

Days after the Philippine Navy denied reports that its personnel shot and killed 35 “militants” trying to enter Malaysia, Sabah police chief Hamza Taib on Monday, April 29, insisted that the militants had been shot dead before they entered Malaysian soil.  

In a report published by Malaysiakini, Taib said he could however only cite “intelligence reports” as the incident did not happen within his jurisdiction

“The 35 (deaths) were confirmed by intelligence reports but don’t ask me about the Philippines. Only ask me about what happens in Sabah,” Taib told reporters. 

The incident comes a week before the general elections in Malaysia on May 5. 

On April 25, Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters that Philippine naval and coast guard forces shot dead 35 alleged militants from Sulu, who were said to be on their way to Sabah to “cause problems during the elections.” 

But the Navy spokesperson on West Philippine Sea matters, Col Edgardo Arevalo, denied Hamidi’s claims. He said “no such report” came to the attention of their naval task force commander based in Tawi-Tawi.

In February, Sabah was caught in a standoff with armed Filipinos who wanted to reiterate the Philippines’ claim to the Malaysian state. –  with reports from Angela Casauay/

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