Malaysian security forces on Wednesday intensified their search for about 200 armed followers of a Philippine sultan following clashes in northern Borneo.
Troops exchanged fire with the intruders early Wednesday during around Tanduo village in Lahad Datu town, 1,600 km east of Kuala Lumpur, a day after a large-scale assault on the village, police chief Ismail Omar said.
“The intruders opened fire at security forces, forcing the ground team to retaliate,” he said. One of the Filipinos was believed to have been killed, but none of the security forces was hurt, he said.
On Tuesday, Malaysian jets rocketed Tanduo where the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III had set up camp February 12 to assert their historical claim to Sabah.
Thousands of security forces moved in after the bombings, but Mr. Omar did not say whether they had entered the village.
No bodies had been recovered, he said, and the reported death on Wednesday had not been verified.
A spokesman for Kiram’s followers said in Manila Tuesday all their members were safe despite the assault.
Eight police commandos and at least 19 Filipino gunmen had been killed in clashes between the two sides since Friday.
The sultanate leased the land in 1878 to the British North Borneo Co., which passed it to Malaysia after it gained independence. Kuala Lumpur currently pays the sultan 5,300 ringgit ($1,680) per year in token rent.