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Malaysian police carry the coffins of two dead officers killed in an ambush in Semporna, on March 4, 2013

Malaysian police carry the coffins of two dead officers killed in an ambush in Semporna, at the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2013. A total of 27 people have been reported killed since the militants landed on February 12 in the state of Sabah on Borneo island by boat and claimed the state on behalf of the heir to a now-defunct Philippine Islamic sultanate

Sabah crisis in photos

Malaysian troops backed by fighter jets assaulted the camp of an armed Filipino group on Tuesday, escalating a crisis triggered when followers of a sultan from southern Philippines sailed last month to Borneo island’s northern state of Sabah to stake a territorial claim. 74-year-old sultan Jamalul Kiram III says he is the head of the Sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of Borneo. Kiram’s family, as heirs to the sultanate, receive token annual compensation from Malaysia as lease payments for Sabah. Photos show the progression of the crisis.