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Ship goes to Malaysia for Filipinos

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

MANILA — A Philippine navy ship was sailing to waters off eastern Malaysia on Monday to try to bring back some members of a Filipino clan who became locked in a territorial standoff when they went there and claimed land as their own.

About 180 Filipinos, including about 30 armed security guards, arrived in Sabah state's coastal district of Lahad Datu about two weeks ago, claiming Sabah belongs to their royal clan based in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.

Malaysian authorities regard them as armed intruders and have attempted to persuade them to leave peacefully, extending a deadline until Tuesday.

Philippine and Malaysian authorities have said the group's demands should be addressed through diplomatic channels.

The Philippines notified Malaysia about the ship arrangements Saturday and said the vessel will stay off Lahad Datu while talks to persuade the Filipinos to return home continue.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the ship was on a humanitarian mission to pick up five women and some other group members. “We urge them to board the ship without delay and return home,” he said.

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