Kuala Lumpur sentences nine Filippino Islamist militants

The men were part of ''royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu "which in 2013 attacked Borneo to demand Islamic rule. After six weeks of guerrilla warfare and 70 deaths, Malaysia managed to drive off the attackers and captured a few. Eight others were sentenced from 10 to 18 years in prison.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Nine Filipino Islamic militants were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Malaysian court for crimes committed in 2013, when together with 200 companions they landed on the coast of Borneo declaring war on Kuala Lumpur and trying to take over part of 'island. Eight others were sentenced from 10 to 18 years in prison.

The incursion of '' royal army of the Sultanate of Sulu "(Mindanao, southern Philippines) held the Malaysian army in check for six weeks. Guided by the self-styled "sultan" Jamalul Kiram, the militia waged a guerrilla war that caused at least 70 deaths. After being surrounded by the Malaysian Army, the Islamists fled but many of them were captured.

Prior to today's rulings, nine other Filipinos had been sentenced to death for having "declared war" on the Malaysian king. The Court of Sabah spared their lives because there was no evidence that they had pulled the trigger and killed someone.

Among those sentenced to life imprisonment is Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram, 53 year old nephew of Jamalul and heir of the Sultanate of Sulu, a stronghold of Islamic fundamentalism. Esmail his father died in 2015 after fighting for years for the recognition of the Sultanate and his claim to part of the southern Philippines and the island of Borneo.

Since the fourteenth century, the south of the Philippine archipelago and the territory of Sabah (now Malaysia) were under the rule of the Sultan of Sulu. However, four centuries later European colonial forces wrested control of the whole area. After the Second World War and the end of colonialism, Malaysia annexed the territories and since 1963 these also include the State of Sabah.