UN chief urges end to Sabah violence
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an end to violence in Malaysia's Sabah state.It comes after Malaysia launched a military assault in an attempt to end an incursion by a group of Filipinos who say the land belongs to them.
At least 27 people have been killed since the initially peaceful two-week stand-off erupted into violence.
On Wednesday, Malaysian troops hunting the Filipinos said they had found at least 13 bodies.
In a statement, Mr Ban's office said he encouraged all sides to engage in dialogue to resolve the situation peacefully.
"The Secretary-General expresses concern about the impact this situation may have on the civilian population, including migrants in the region," said the statement.
"He urges all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards."
SAYING NO TO VIOLENCE...OPPOSING COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN SABAH...
A rally was held in the Philippines capital, Manila, on Wednesday night calling for a peaceful resolution and expressing concern for the safety of the many Filipinos who live and work in Sabah.
"We are very apprehensive that it may get out of control," Norhaya Nacusag told Reuters.
"We are united and firm in our call to both parties for the unconditional and immediate cessation of hostilities and for the Malaysian government and the Sulu Sultanate to immediately work for the de-escalation of conflict and to open up dialogues to resolve this conflict."
THE ZONE OF CONFLICT