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Malaysia warns Indonesian citizens in island near conflict area to escape


17:59, March 07, 2013

JAKARTA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian police have warned Indonesian nationals living in Sebatik Island to leave the area due to escalation of conflict between Malaysian armed forces and Filipino armed group, Indonesian police in border said on Thursday.

"The Malaysian police have asked Indonesian nationals who dwelled for years in Sebatik Island that belongs to Malaysia (to leave)," said Eka Berlin, chief of Sei Nyamuk Sector Police in border with Malaysia.

Berlin said that Indonesian police officers cannot make efforts to evacuate them after the Indonesian nationals there said they had built residences in the Kampung Melayu region of Sebatik Island that is in Malaysian territory.

"We could not do much as the Indonesian nationals were confirmed to have lived in Sebatik Island that belongs to Malaysia, " he was quoted by Antara news wire as saying.

Currently, Berlin said that the Indonesian citizens that have been asked to leave the area have evacuated to relatives' residences in Seberang Village which borders Malaysia as well as Sei Nyamuk Sub-district of East Sebatik, both areas are in Indonesia territory.

"They left houses after getting warning from the Malaysian police and had evacuated to relatives' houses near the border," said Berlin.

The Malaysian police warning might came after a raid from an armed rebellion that triggered a bloody conflict.

Ari Aryanto, commander for the Pamtas Task Force of the Indonesian Army from 407 Padmakusuma Battalion in the border, confirmed the Malaysian police warning.

"They asked people to leave their houses due to issues that the armed rebellion from Sulu of south Philippines have entered the area on Sunday (March 3)," said Ari.

Sebatik Island in the northeast of Kalimantan is divided into two parts: the north area belongs to Malaysia and the south area belongs to Indonesia.

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