Navy arrests gunmen on way to Sabah

MANILA, Philippines - A group of 35 alleged followers of the sultanate of Sulu were intercepted early Wednesday, March 13, in the vicinity of Tawi-Tawi, the Philipine Navy said. The Navy seized firearms and ammunition from them.

Initial reports suggest they were on their way to Sabah, according to Navy spokesman Lt Cmd Gregory Fabic.

The group -- 34 men and one woman on board 2 vessels -- was stopped by the BRP Mariano Alvarez patrol ship and the BRP Jose Andrada at around 6.30 am.

Upon searching the boats, the Navy discovered "numerous firearms and ammunition," Andrada added.

The suspected supporters of the standoff led by the sultan's brother in Sabah are expected to arrive later this afternoon to be interrogated in Batobato, Tawi-Tawi.

A week ago another group of 67 followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were also intercepted in Tawi-Tawi before heading to Lahad Datu, Sabah. - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com