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LAHAD DATU: Philippine president urged Sulu militants to surrender
MANILA: Philippine President Banigno S Aquino III urged Saturday the followers of the Sultan of Sulu who are still holed up in Lahad Datu, Sabah to surrender without conditions to prevent further loss of lives, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
Aquino made this appeal in a statement released after he had met some of his Cabinet members and security officials in Malacanang, the presidential palace, for the second time since the Sabah clash erupted Friday morning.
"If you have grievances, the path you chose was wrong. The just, and indeed, the only correct thing for you to do is to surrender," Aquino said.
"To those who have influence and the capacity to reason with those in Lahad Datu, I ask you to convey this message: surrender now, without conditions," he added.
Twelve followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were killed in the clash with the Malaysian forces, two of whom also died.
The Kiram's men went to Sabah three weeks ago to assert their claim over the minerals- and oil-rich Malaysian state.
Aquino said that from the very start, his administration's objective has been to avoid loss of lives and the shedding of blood.
"However, you did not join us in this objective. Because of the path you have taken, what we have been trying to avoid has come to pass," Aquino said.
Malaysia warned that if the remaining Kiram's followers would not surrender, they would have to face the undesirable consequences. - BERNAMA