KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia charged another eight Filipinos with terrorism and waging war against the King over a deadly incursion in Malaysia's Sabah state that left at least 72 people dead.
The suspects were the second batch to be charged at a high court in Sabah with launching terrorist acts and waging war against the King, which can be penalized up to 30 years in prison and a death sentence respectively upon conviction, authorities said.
On Wednesday, authorities charged eight other Filipinos aged between 17 and 66 with similar offences.
All 16 suspects, who were among 108 people arrested for suspected terrorism, have not entered a plea.
Authorities said they are closing in on the remnants of the Filipino militants in Sabah's east coast and expect to end the more-than-a-month long siege in a few days.
The militants came in a group of about 180 Filipinos who landed in Sabah's Lahad Datu from southern Philippines on February 9 to stake a 17th century claim on the land.
They were followers of a defunct Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who till now is still pressing for Sabah to be returned to his sultanate.
Their intrusion and defiance of a deadline to leave prompted authorities to launch assaults across the east coast of Sabah.
Since fighting broke out on March 1, at least 72 people have died, including 62 gunmen, eight policemen and two soldiers, many others were wounded.
A teenage boy whose identity was not disclosed was shot dead in the clashes.
To date, police have arrested 108 arrests for suspected terrorism and 243 others for various other offences including possession of weapons, fraudulent documents and illegal entry.