MANILA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine justice department is preparing appropriate charges against 36 armed members of the Royal Security Force (RSF) of the Sulu Sultanate who were intercepted Wednesday by the Philippine Navy off southern province of Tawi-Tawi.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed in Thursday's briefing the interception of the two groups of armed men from Sabah on board two watercraft off Omapoy Island and Andulingan Island.
She said that one of them was wounded and Rajah Muda Agbimmudin Kiram, the leader of the some 180 RSF members who invaded Sabah, was not one of them.
"So with that development, the processes are now being undertaken by a composite team with the end view of filing the appropriate charges against them as soon as possible," De Lima said.
She said that one of the charges to be filed is illegal possession of firearms since they were found to have in possession various firearms and bladed weapons.
De Lima said that the RSF members are now detained in a naval facility in Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi.
"They will remain there even for purposes of inquest because we realized there are serious security concerns involved here," she said.
Malaysian authorities have been hunting down the remaining followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who landed in Lahad Datu on Feb. 12 to assert their claim over Sabah. Clash erupted between the Malaysian forces and Kiram followers on March 1 resulting in the death of several people.