Manila disputes report of killings near Malaysia

AP News
Posted: Apr 25, 2013 6:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military on Thursday disputed a newspaper report that its naval and coast guard forces killed 35 gunmen to stop them from entering the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Malaysia's The Star quoted Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying at a news conference Thursday in Penang that Philippine troops shot the gunmen from southern Sulu province before they could enter Malaysian waters, after the gunmen had refused to turn back.

Philippine regional naval commander Capt. Renato Yonque says the border with Malaysia has been "very quiet," and "we have no information on that."

Ahmad Zahid and his aides did not immediately answer calls to their cell phones.

Since March, Malaysian troops have battled armed followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of Sulu who is claiming Sabah.