World

Leader of Filipino sultanate that invaded Malaysian state dies; followers to press claim

FILE - In this March 10, 2013 file photo, Sultan Esmail Kiram II talks with his brother Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III as they pose for photographers at his residence in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines. The leader of a sultanate in the southern Philippines that staged a 2013 invasion of a bustling Malaysian state and sparked a deadly security crisis has died of kidney failure, his family and followers said Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. Sultan Esmail Kiram II died at age 76 late Saturday at a hospital in southern Zamboanga city. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

FILE - In this March 10, 2013 file photo, Sultan Esmail Kiram II talks with his brother Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III as they pose for photographers at his residence in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines. The leader of a sultanate in the southern Philippines that staged a 2013 invasion of a bustling Malaysian state and sparked a deadly security crisis has died of kidney failure, his family and followers said Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. Sultan Esmail Kiram II died at age 76 late Saturday at a hospital in southern Zamboanga city. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Philippine sultan whose armed followers invaded a vast Malaysian region in 2013 and sparked a deadly security crisis has died of kidney failure.

Sultan Esmail Kiram II died at age 76 late Saturday at a hospital in the southern Philippines.

According to spokesman Abraham Idjirani, he left an order for his sultanate to pursue a claim to Sabah state in neighboring Malaysia.

Although largely dismissed as a vestige from a bygone era, Kiram's Muslim sultanate stirred up a crisis in the two Southeast Asia nations when his younger brother and about 200 followers, many of them armed, barged into a coastal village in Sabah.

Malaysia responded by sending troops and launching airstrikes in weeks of sporadic fighting that killed dozens of people before the standoff eased.