Despite the Malaysian authorities declaring an end to negotiations with more than 100 armed Filipinos who landed in Sabah early this week and saying they will be deported, the group's leader insists that they will stay put.

NONEJamalul Kiram III, who claims to be ruler of the now defunct Sulu Sultanate, told thePhilippine Daily Inquirer that he authorised the 'incursion' and that his men would remain in Lahad Datu as long as needed.

Jamalul said the group, led by his younger brother crown prince Agbimuddin Kiram, would remain in Sabah for "as long as necessary" in their bid to reclaim the state, which was formerly a territory of the Sulu Sultanate.

"I sent my brother to Sabah in the name of peace and in the exercise of our historic, ancestral and sovereign right over Sabah," Jamalul, who is in Manila, is quoted as saying by the Philippine national daily.

"It is upon us, the leaders of Sulu, to claim back what is ours," he added

NONEThe Philippine Daily Inquirer also quoted Agbimuddin as saying that his group, holed up in a village in Lahad Datu, is equipped with an assortment of weapons and no one could make them leave unless his elder broher Jamalul decreed that they do so.

"M-14, M-16, M203, Baby Armalite, basta assorted, we have all kinds," Agbimuddin is quoted as saying.

'More men will join us' 

He said his 'royal army' had began training in several areas in southern Philippines since 2001. 

NONEThe incursion came to light when Malaysian police announced on Feb 13 that they had surrounded the Filipino militants.

Agbimuddin added that more men, supporters of the Sulu Sultanate, were expected to join them in Sabah soon.

Yesterday, Sabah police head Hamza Taib (rightconfirmed that police had ended negotiations with the armed group and would deport them from the state "as soon as possible".

However, Hamza did not elaborate how this would be done in the face of an adamant group bent on occupying what the Sulu Sultanate sees as its territory.

'Invaders seek meeting with prominent figure'

Bernama report this evening quotes Hamza as saying the invaders had agreed to be deported, but they first want to meet with a prominent figure.

"In principle, they have agreed to be deported but they want to meet somebody first. Therefore, we are unsure when they can be deported..." he said, but declined to identify the individual the militants want to meet.

Hamza also brushed aside criticism of the police for negotiating with the invaders.

"We must see things from all perspectives because we are negotiating with human beings.

"We have to remember that most of them are from the southern Philippines as well as Sabah.

"How would they feel if we take action against their people? We must look at both perspectives," Hamza said.

~ Malaysiakini