PETALING JAYA: The Philippine Daily Inquirer is reporting that thousands of Suluk from southern Philippines have sailed to Sabah to join forces with the armed intruders in Lahad Datu.
Quoting a source from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the report claimed that many have made their way to Sabah in small boats to support the armed intrusion.
MNLF's Islamic Council Committee chairman Habib Hashim Mudjahab, told the Inquirer: "Many of our people are going to Sabah to help the sultanate. They sailed in small numbers so they can easily penetrate Sabah unnoticed."
"The naval blockade is of no use" he said, referring to a naval blockade by the Philippine navy and coast guard to ensure armed sympathisers do not join cross over to Sabah.
"President (Benigno) Aquino kept issuing statements favouring the Malaysians, which made our people agitated. The President must realise that it is about pride and honor, and our people are ready to sacrifice," Mudjahab said.
A retired educator in Tawi-Tawi, who asked not to be identified by name, said the sultanate of Sulu represented an extension of their rich heritage.
"They are the first Filipinos. The sultanate of Sulu was already there even before Philippines existed," he claimed.
A group of Sulu gunmen have been involved in a stand-off with Malaysian security forces in Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu, Sabah, since Feb 9.
An all-out attack was conducted by Malaysian forces on Tuesday to flush out the intruders.