Malaysian troops claim to have killed 31 Filipinos today in the ongoing battle with an intruding clan of Muslims from the Philippines in the state of Sabah, on the far northeastern tip of Boreno.
The leaders of the clan denied the claim, insisting that all of their members are alive an accounted for, and insisted that the Malaysian troops had just killed random villagers in the district. If confirmed, the overall death toll of the ongoing battle is now 60, including eight Malaysian police.
The fighting surrounds a faction linked with a clan leader in Manila, who holds disputed hereditary claims to the Sultanate of Sulu, which ceded the territory in question to a British syndicate in the 19th century on promise of annual rent.
Though there are several different “heirs” to the Sultanate, Malaysia insists the issue is irrelevant because the residents of British North Borneo voted to join the Federation of Malaysia. The Malaysian government had been paying the rent in the form of an annual payment of $1710 through 2010 to the Sultanate’s lawyers, but when they demanded this be increased to $1 billion annually, Malaysia simply stopped paying outright.
The sultan has sought to broker a ceasefire between the Malaysian government and his clan, but the government has spurned the offer, insisting that they will only accept an unconditional surrender, and that they will continue to fight until they eliminate the Filipinos from the area.