FELDA SAHABAT, Malaysia/MANILA, Philippines — Malaysian police shot dead a teenager and injured a man Sunday as they tried to end a month-long incursion by Filipino gunmen in remote Sabah state that has seen 62 people killed.
The shooting happened as the Philippines expressed grave concern over the reported rounding up of community members of Suluk/Tausug descent in Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah by police, boosting allegations human rights violations by Filipinos who had shipped out of the disputed territory.
The death of the teen, whose identity and nationality has not yet been confirmed, came on the same day that police said two officers were hurt in clashes with armed Filipino Islamists.
The group landed in the state on Borneo island to resurrect long-dormant land claims by the Philippine sultan of Sulu.
Malaysia, facing its worst security crisis in years, insists the gunmen must surrender and has launched air- and ground strikes against them, but they continue to hide within a security cordon around two villages and farm land.
Malaysian police shot the boy, believed to be between 12 and 15 years old, and the man in his 30s when they noticed movement in some bushes while frisking a group of five near the battlezone, federal police chief Ismail Omar said.
Gunmen have traded fresh fire with security forces since late Saturday, also injuring two policemen who have been hospitalised. Eight policemen were killed in clashes before the Malaysian military assault began.
Police said earlier Sunday they have arrested a total of 85 people in the state under a security law and are investigating them for “committing terrorist acts” by the Filipinos from the ethnic group, Tausug.
The Tausugs are the dominant ethnic group of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, where the followers of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III came from.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the allegations are alarming and should be "properly and immediately addressed by concerned authorities."
According to the the DFA, it is now coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other relevant agencies to document these reports so that appropriate actions could be taken.
At the same time, the Department said it is urging the Malaysian government to take steps to clarify these alleged incidents.
“We reiterate our call on the Malaysian Government to give humane treatment to the Filipinos under their custody,” said the DFA.