MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military 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 telling 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."
Hamidi and his aides did not immediately answer calls to their cell phones.
Since March, Malaysian troops have battled armed followers of Sultan Jamalulu Kiram III of Sulu who is claiming Sabah.