LAHAD DATU - The Philippines government on Friday asked for an extension of the deadline for the Sulu armed group to leave Kampung Tanduo.
Philippines Foreign Minister Albert del Rasario said that he had contacted his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, requesting that the Friday deadline for the Sulu Sultan followers be extended till Tuesday.
He said the Philippines authorities were trying to persuade the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram holding up in Tandau for two-weeks to leave Sabah.
"We expect our request to be endorsed as work is in progress on urging the Kiram family to work on a peaceful withdrawal," he was quoted as telling the media in Manila.
He said that the Malaysian authorities had assured Manila they would not use force on the Sulu group if they left Sabah peacefully.
Malaysian security forces have encircled the Sulu group, comprising more than 100 men and led by the brother of Jamalul, and are waiting for orders to move in to deport them back to the Philippines.
The group, however, has so far refused to budge from the seaside village of Tanduo about 165km from Sabah's east coast town that straddles close to the sea borders of the Philippines.